Italian authorities have issued a “severe” health risk for 16 cities including Rome and Florence this weekend, as a heatwave sweeping Europe threatens to bring record temperatures.
Climatologists at the European Space Agency (ESA) say temperatures could reach 48 degrees Celsius (118.4 degrees Fahrenheit) on the islands of Sicily and Sardinia, “possibly the highest temperatures ever recorded in Europe.”
Rome can reach temperatures of 44°C (111°F).
Italian authorities issued the second-highest heat warning for nine other cities. The country’s Ministry of Health advises the public to stay hydrated, eat light meals and avoid direct sunlight between 11 a.m. and 6 p.m.
The European Space Agency has warned that the heatwave in Europe has only just begun, with Spain, France, Germany and Poland expected to experience extreme weather, just as the continent welcomes what is expected to be a record number of tourists arriving for the first time since coronavirus. -19 pandemic.
A woman in Rome drinks water near the Roman Forum.
Greece closed the Acropolis in Athens for the second day in a row on Saturday amid extreme temperatures. Local police helped a tourist who was in difficulty on Friday.
There is particular concern for those working outdoors after a 44-year-old construction worker died in Italy after collapsing on the side of the road earlier in the week.
The authorities in Spain warned that the heat wave is not only hitting the usual areas in the south, but also affecting the usually cooler north of the country.
In the south, temperatures in the cities of Seville, Cordoba and Granada reached 40 degrees Celsius, or 104 degrees Fahrenheit.
Spain’s National Meteorological Service says it’s also hot on the Spanish resort island of Mallorca in the Mediterranean, with maximum temperatures reaching 36 degrees Celsius, or 97 degrees Fahrenheit.
Meanwhile, even the usually temperate Navarre region in the north is seeing temperatures of up to 40 degrees Celsius.
The regional government of the Canary Islands tweeted Saturday morning that a forest fire broke out on the island of La Palma in the Spanish Canary Islands, burning several homes and forcing the evacuation of 500 people.
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Heat is one of the deadliest natural hazards – more than 61,000 people died in Europe’s scorching summer heatwave last year.
The current heatwave – which the Italian Meteorological Society has named “Cerberus” after the three-headed monster that appears in Dante’s Inferno – has raised further concerns for people’s health, especially as it coincides with one of Europe’s busiest summer tourism periods. . season.
Europe isn’t the only place facing extreme temperatures. A dangerous, weeks-long heat wave in parts of the western US is expected to intensify this weekend, with more than 90 million people under heat warnings.
The extreme weather is also affecting areas as far away as Australia, with Sydney experiencing unusually warm weather during the winter months, according to the country’s Bureau of Meteorology.