WARSAW, Poland – Record-high temperatures have created a summer-like atmosphere across normally cool Northern Europe — even up into Lapland — weeks ahead of the official start of summer.
Germany, Poland and the Nordic region are seeing an unusually hot May — the hottest in decades in some places — while even the Baltic states bask in an unusually warm spring.
Polish state television called it the hottest May on record in 129 years, with April the third-warmest on record. Temperatures hit 30 Celsius (86 Fahrenheit) in Warsaw on Wednesday.
The heat has exacerbated a dry spell, hurting crops in some places.
Farmers in northeastern Germany have complained of damage caused by dry weather to crops such as oilseed rape. Temperatures hit 32 Celsius in Berlin on Wednesday.
In the Nordic region, Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden have all endured sweltering heat with no rain for most of May.
It's been the warmest May in decades in many parts of Sweden, with temperatures recently reaching 30 Celsius in the coastal town of Hudiksvall.
Denmark and Norway have seen temperatures reaching over 30 Celsius. Norwegian meteorologists say it's been the warmest May in 71 years in the southeastern part of the country, and warn that excessive heat with no rain in sight could take its toll on animals and the environment, particularly through forest fires.
The heat wave has boosted ice cream sales in the Nordics. The Goteborg, Sweden-based Triumf Glass said it had increased its sales 60 percent in the first half of May compared to the previous year.
The Finnish Meteorological Institute said the current heatwave in the Nordic region has also reached Lapland, Europe's northernmost and remotest region covering parts of Finland, Sweden and Norway.
Tanner reported from Tallinn, Estonia. Associated Press writer Geir Moulson in Berlin contributed.