Hottest day of the year so far in Greece, red alert in Italy: Heat is firmly gripping southern Europe. Severe drought also increases the risk of wildfires.
The heatwave continues in southern Europe – temperatures in Greece are said to be peaking in the meantime. On Friday, the hottest temperature of the year was measured in Thebes, about 50 kilometers northwest of Athens, at 44.2 degrees Celsius, according to the National Observatory. Meteorologists did not expect the temperature to drop over the weekend.
For the second day in a row, the authorities closed the Acropolis in Athens during the hottest hours. As announced by the Ministry of Culture, the landmark will be closed from 11:30 am to 5:30 pm. The day before there were closing times for attractions. On Friday morning, a tourist suffered a mild heatstroke while visiting the Acropolis Hill.
The Ministry of Environment and Energy has called for a reduction in the use of private cars because the exhaust gases in urban areas such as Athens and Thessaloniki pollute the air more in the heat. In addition, due to the increased risk of fire, caution is advised when handling fuels such as gasoline. OSE Railways has announced that trains will be slowed down due to the high temperatures to ensure safety on the hot tracks.
Red alert in Italian cities
In Italy, the Ministry of Health issued a red high temperature warning for many cities, including the capital, Rome, Bologna and Florence. According to the newspaper “Il Messaggero”, two amateur soccer players, aged 48 and 51, died in the Naples region as a result of diseases believed to be caused by the heat.
There is no cooling in sight for the country in the coming days either: on Tuesday it could be 42 or 43 degrees in Rome. The previous heat record of 40.5 degrees from August 2007 for the Italian capital may have fallen. On the Italian Mediterranean island of Sardinia, the highest temperature ever measured in Europe of 48.8 degrees can be exceeded these days.
Northern Italy was also not spared from temperature extremes: a high of 38 degrees is expected for Milan on Tuesday. Meteorologist Claudio Cassardi told “Il Messaggero” that due to climate change, such situations occur more frequently and are more severe.
Fires in Naxos, Croatia
The risk of wildfires is increasing as a result of severe drought and, in some places, high winds. A fire has already broken out on the Greek island of Naxos, which can be put out with fire engines and helicopters.
There is also a fire in Croatia, where a fire broke out on Thursday in the remote areas of the coastal cities of Sibenik and Primosten. The Croatian news portal “index.hr” reported that about 140 firefighters had managed to put out the flames by Friday.
The European Space Agency, ESA, has warned that the heatwave will also affect Germany and Poland, as well as Greece, Italy, Spain and France.