Summer warmth will reach its peak across most of the Balkan Peninsula on Wednesday. Cooling will come on Thursday but at a price.
A dome of high pressure centered over the Mediterranean Sea will keep the Balkans feeling more like summer than early May on Wednesday.
Temperatures will rise into the upper 20s and lower 30s C (80s and lower 90s F) in the lower elevations. Such highs are about 10-15 C (20-25 F) above normal. Wednesday is shaping up to be Belgrade's hottest day since the middle of August 2014.
Moderate humidity will create even higher AccuWeather.com RealFeel® temperatures.
A cooling influence from the Black Sea will limit the warming along and toward the coasts of Romania and Bulgaria.
Residents are urged to drink plenty of water and avoid strenuous activity during the midday and afternoon hours, the hottest time of the day, to avoid suffering from a heat-related illness.
An end to the warmth will come late this week as a cold front sweeps across the Balkans in a north-to-south fashion.
While opening the door for more seasonable air to return, the cold front will also trigger strong thunderstorms with gusty winds, hail and downpours. The strongest winds could cause sporadic power outages and localized tree damage.
Even if the thunderstorms remain below severe limits, residents should seek shelter as soon as thunder is heard because the storm will then be close enough for lightning to strike the area.
As the front drops southward, thunderstorms will erupt in the afternoon and evening hours from around Hungary to northern Serbia on Wednesday. The severity of the thunderstorms will be greatest in the evening.
Severe thunderstorms will also target communities near the border of Poland and Belarus and Ukraine later Wednesday.
The loss of daytime heating will lessen the wind and hail concern later Wednesday night, but the threat will return Thursday afternoon and evening farther south across southern Romania, Bulgaria, southern Serbia and Macedonia. This includes Bucharest, Sofia and Plovdiv.
Dry weather will replace the storminess on Friday, but the calm will not last long as thunderstorms will return to places in and around the Dinaric Alps on Saturday.