Central, eastern Europe swelter in record heat

Summer came early to central and eastern Europe as unseasonally high temperatures were recorded Saturday in several parts of Germany, Austria and the Czech Republic.

Temperatures "are exceptionally mild for April", Austria's ZAMG meteorological centre said, reporting a record 32 Celsius (90 Fahrenheit) in the northern region of Lower Austria.

The centre said the main reason for the summer weather gracing the region was a strong southern wind from Africa's Sahara desert.

Temperatures hovering around 28 Celsius (82 Fahrenheit) in Vienna drew large crowds to the banks of the Danube while Germany's Bild carried frontpage pictures of Berlin residents sunbathing in 30 degrees.

Prague experienced its hottest April 28 in 212 years, with mercury hitting 27.7 Celsius (82 Fahrenheit) while unusually high temperatures were also recorded in Poland and Slovakia.

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