Updated 5.18pm

Some respite from what is known as a heat dome, which Malta is currently experiencing, will start by Thursday, but do not hold your breath for cooler weather as the Met Office still forecasts temperatures will remain above average for the rest of August.

A spokesperson for the Meteorological Office at Malta International Airport explained the current high temperatures, experienced throughout the last month, as resulting from different heat domes, formed when stagnant hot air over the Sahara Desert is pushed towards the central Mediterranean and southern Europe by south-westerly winds.

If this happens in conjunction with a high-pressure system, the air becomes trapped and forms a dome, which, in turn, causes the temperatures to rise, the Met Office said of the phenomenon the country was going through.

The only hope of a breather from the stifling feeling that is affecting everyone is a north-westerly wind.

“For a heat dome to move, it has to be pushed away by, more often than not, north-westerly winds originating from the Atlantic Ocean, which bring cooler air from these regions,” the Met Office said.

But that will not happen until Thursday, and temperatures are expected to soar to a maximum of 42°C on Wednesday before moderating to 35°C on Thursday and 32°C on Friday.

The hottest day in recorded history was in August 1999, when temperatures reached 43.8°C. 

 Heat domes are typical summer weather phenomena 

Although it may seem worse than usual, these heat domes are typical summer weather phenomena and form almost every year, leading to high temperatures, or heatwaves, the Met Office said.

And Malta is not alone in experiencing this. The hot air usually affects the West and central Mediterranean, Italy, Greece and the Balkans, and could sometimes even reach central and Eastern European countries, depending on weather patterns.

At the moment, in fact, the West and central Mediterranean, Italy, Greece, and parts of Turkey and being affected by a heat dome too – although that is of little consolation as Malta faces its third heatwave of the summer.

A period of high temperatures in June peaked at 41.5°C - the hottest June day on record. That turned out to be the longest June heatwave in a decade, coming to an end on July 2.

A cascade of global, deadly, extreme weather this summer could make 2021 the year when climate predictions became a reality that can no longer be ignored – from Death Valley-like temperatures in Canada to rain-filled subway cars in central China, with parents lifting their children above the waterline.

In mid-July, western Europe was hit by devastating floods after torrential rains ravaged entire villages in Germany and Belgium, while Greece and Turkey have been battling devastating fires for nearly two weeks as the region suffers its worst heatwave in decades.

Officials and experts have linked such intense weather events to climate change.

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