Much of southern Europe remains in the grip of an unrelenting and deadly heat wave, as Britain struggles to recover from the country's worst flooding in six decades.

Temperatures in Italy and Greece have surged past 40 degrees Celsius, spawning wildfires in southern Italy, Macedonia and Greece. A national park in Slovakia also was ablaze.

Thousands of tourists and vacationers in southern Italy sought refuge on beaches from fires that authorities say may have been deliberately started.

In Hungary, officials say heat killed more than 500 people in the past week, before a cooling weather front brought at least temporary relief Wednesday. Romania has reported nearly 30 deaths in recent days.

Authorities warned more than 300,000 residents in central and western England of looming water shortages, after floods damaged a local water treatment plant. More rain is expected this week.

A flood in the historic university city of Oxford forced about 150 people into temporary quarters at a football stadium outside the city. Other towns along the river Thames west of London are bracing for floods.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.