World

French authorities monitor elderly, homeless as hot temperatures spread around Europe

  • Julian, left, is photographed by his mother with friend Gianluca, right, under water at a public pool in Gelsenkirchen, Germany, on a hot Friday, July 3, 2015. Germany faces a heat wave with temperatures up to 38 degrees Celsius  (100 degrees Fahrenheit) at the weekend. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner)

    Julian, left, is photographed by his mother with friend Gianluca, right, under water at a public pool in Gelsenkirchen, Germany, on a hot Friday, July 3, 2015. Germany faces a heat wave with temperatures up to 38 degrees Celsius (100 degrees Fahrenheit) at the weekend. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner)  (The Associated Press)

  • People dive and swim into the Mediterranean sea, in Marseille, southern France, Thursday, July 2, 2015. A mass of hot air moving north from Africa is bringing unusually hot weather to Western Europe, with France in recent days. Temperatures in Nice rose to 30 degrees Celsius (86 Fahrenheit). (AP Photo/Claude Paris)

    People dive and swim into the Mediterranean sea, in Marseille, southern France, Thursday, July 2, 2015. A mass of hot air moving north from Africa is bringing unusually hot weather to Western Europe, with France in recent days. Temperatures in Nice rose to 30 degrees Celsius (86 Fahrenheit). (AP Photo/Claude Paris)  (The Associated Press)

  • People enjoy the sun along the Seine river in Paris, France, Thursday, July 2, 2015. A mass of hot air moving north from Africa is bringing unusually hot weather to Western Europe in recent days, as temperatures in Paris rose to 32 degrees Celsius (89.6 Fahrenheit). (AP Photo/Michel Euler)

    People enjoy the sun along the Seine river in Paris, France, Thursday, July 2, 2015. A mass of hot air moving north from Africa is bringing unusually hot weather to Western Europe in recent days, as temperatures in Paris rose to 32 degrees Celsius (89.6 Fahrenheit). (AP Photo/Michel Euler)  (The Associated Press)

While Europeans seek relief from unusually high temperatures spreading across the continent, the U.N. weather agency says the region is better prepared than in the past to avoid major casualties.

From Spain to Poland, temperatures have climbed as a mass of hot air from Africa has pushed northward. Some cities have seen temperatures near or beyond 40 degrees Celsius (104 Fahrenheit), and they're expected to stay high through the weekend.

World Meteorological Organization spokeswoman Clare Nullis told reporters Friday that Europe is "much, much better prepared" to cope with the heat than in 2003, when tens of thousands of people died, mostly elderly people in France.

Many authorities have early warning systems in place. French authorities are reaching out to the vulnerable and encouraging the homeless to use public baths.