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LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - APRIL 10: The Honourable Artillery Company fire a gun salute at The Tower of London on April 10, 2021 in London, United Kingdom.  The Death Gun Salute will be fired at 1200 marking the death of His Royal Highness, The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh. Across the country and the globe saluting batteries will fire 41 rounds, 1 round at the start of each minute, for 40 minutes. Gun salutes are customarily fired, both on land and at sea, as a sign of respect or welcome. The Chief of the Defence Staff, General Sir Nicholas Carter, said "His Royal Highness has been a great friend, inspiration and role model for the Armed Forces and he will be sorely missed." (Photo by Chris Jackson/Getty Images)
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People view flowers left in front of the gate at Buckingham Palace in London, after the announcement of the death of Britain's Prince Philip, Friday, April 9, 2021. Buckingham Palace officials say Prince Philip, the husband of Queen Elizabeth II, has died. He was 99. Philip spent a month in hospital earlier this year before being released on March 16 to return to Windsor Castle.
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People view flowers left in front of the gate at Buckingham Palace in London, after the announcement of the death of Britain's Prince Philip, Friday, April 9, 2021. Buckingham Palace officials say Prince Philip, the husband of Queen Elizabeth II, has died. He was 99. Philip spent a month in hospital earlier this year before being released on March 16 to return to Windsor Castle.
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Britain's Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, in his role as Captain General, Royal Marines, attends a Parade to mark the finale of the 1664 Global Challenge on the Buckingham Palace Forecourt in central London on August 2, 2017.  
After a lifetime of public service by the side of his wife Queen Elizabeth II, Prince Philip finally retires on August 2, 2017,at the age of 96. The Duke of Edinburgh attended a parade of Royal Marines at Buckingham Palace, the last of 22,219 solo public engagements since she ascended to the throne in 1952.
 / AFP PHOTO / POOL / HANNAH MCKAY        (Photo credit should read HANNAH MCKAY/AFP/Getty Images)
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Britain's Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, in his role as Captain General, Royal Marines, attends a Parade to mark the finale of the 1664 Global Challenge on the Buckingham Palace Forecourt in central London on August 2, 2017. After a lifetime of public service by the side of his wife Queen Elizabeth II, Prince Philip finally retires on August 2, 2017,at the age of 96. The Duke of Edinburgh attended a parade of Royal Marines at Buckingham Palace, the last of 22,219 solo public engagements since she ascended to the throne in 1952. / AFP PHOTO / POOL / HANNAH MCKAY (Photo credit should read HANNAH MCKAY/AFP/Getty Images)
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This picture shows the interior of Palais Vivienne apartment, owned by French collector Pierre-Jean Chalencon, on April 5, 2021. - The lawyer of Pierre-Jean Chalencon, owner of the "Palais Vivienne", implicated by a report from French channel M6 for clandestine dinners in Paris, told AFP on April 4th that his client was only "joking" when he declared ministers participated in such meals. Paris prosecutor Remy Heitz opened a criminal investigation on alleged dinners banned during the pandemic. - RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE (Photo by Thomas COEX / AFP) / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE (Photo by THOMAS COEX/AFP via Getty Images)
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This picture shows the interior of Palais Vivienne apartment, owned by French collector Pierre-Jean Chalencon, on April 5, 2021. - The lawyer of Pierre-Jean Chalencon, owner of the "Palais Vivienne", implicated by a report from French channel M6 for clandestine dinners in Paris, told AFP on April 4th that his client was only "joking" when he declared ministers participated in such meals. Paris prosecutor Remy Heitz opened a criminal investigation on alleged dinners banned during the pandemic. - RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE (Photo by Thomas COEX / AFP) / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE (Photo by THOMAS COEX/AFP via Getty Images)
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(CNN) —  

Europe is bracing for an “exceptional” heat wave, with authorities activating emergency plans that include setting up public cooling rooms and extending hours at swimming pools.

Temperatures exceeding 40 degrees Celsius (104 degrees Fahrenheit) are forecast in a number of major cities across the continent, with meteorologists warning that higher humidity could make it feel even hotter.

The heat wave “promises to be exceptional” at the end of June, French meteorological service Météo-France said.

National weather authorities in Belgium, the Czech Republic, France, Germany, Italy, Spain and Switzerland have issued heat warnings, advising people to avoid strenuous activities at midday and in the afternoon, drink plenty of water and stay out of the sun.

Heat waves are becoming more frequent and more severe because of the climate crisis, scientists say. The frequency of such events is expected to double by 2050, Météo-France said.

Heat records could fall in France

France could see temperatures that exceed those of the historic and lethal 2003 European heat wave. A record-setting mark of 44.1 Celsius (111 degrees Fahrenheit) was measured that August in France, and more than 14,000 mostly elderly people died.

People seek refuge from the heat in a fountain in Rome.
ALBERTO PIZZOLI/AFP/Getty Images
People seek refuge from the heat in a fountain in Rome.

Such temperatures are far above average across Central and Western Europe, hiking the potential danger, CNN senior meteorologist Brandon Miller said.

“When it is 105 (degrees Fahrenheit) in Phoenix or Kuwait, it is not nearly as big of a deal as if it is 105 in Chicago or Paris,” he said.

“But when summer temperatures are routinely in the 70s, like in northern Europe or the West Coast of the US, many places do not have air conditioning. This can turn deadly fast if heat waves strike and last for several days.

“This is especially true if nighttime low temperatures stay hot,” Miller said. “If the air is humid, it will not cool off much at night, and that prevents buildings from releasing their heat and cooling off at night.”

Mist showers and cooling rooms

Paris City Hall has activated a plan that includes installing 48 mist showers throughout the city, extending hours at public swimming pools, keeping some parks open all night and opening cool rooms in designated public buildings, officials said.

National school exams also have been postponed – for the first time ever – to next week, the French education ministry ordered.

“This is the first time this has happened because it’s the first time that it’s this hot during the school year,” education minister Jean-Michel Blanquer said.

Scorching weather in Spain will continue until early next week, with temperatures hitting their highs on Wednesday and Thursday, the Spanish AEMET weather agency warned.

In Germany, where prior heat waves have caused asphalt on highways to bulge, drivers should be extra vigilant, the nation’s weather service advised. The country’s temperature record for June is likely to fall this week, the agency said.

Neighbors should check on older people during the heat wave, urged Silbernetz, a German old age charity. Older people and children are most at risk of heat-related illnesses.

Children and animals also should be kept away from direct sun and hot cars, the Czech Hydrometeorological Institute warned.

European public health bodies are trying to prevent a repeat of last year, when heat waves resulted in deaths in Spain and Portugal and drought conditions in Germany and Sweden.

The continent also experienced its hottest August on record in 2018, according to the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts’ Copernicus Climate Change Service.

CNN’s Celia Heudebourg, Rebecca Blanchard, Antoine Crouin and Saskya Vandoorne contributed reporting.