Red alerts issued as heatwave sweeps southern Europe


ROME: As another heatwave sweeps across southern Europe, fifteen cities in Italy issued red alerts to indicate risks to tourist hotspots including Rome, Florence, and Bologna for the coming days.

The hottest temperature ever recorded in Europe was 48.8C in Sicily in August 2021, and forecasts suggest similar levels could be reached this week.

The European Space Agency, whose satellites monitor land and sea temperatures, has warned that Italy, Spain, France, Germany and Poland are expected to face extreme conditions this summer.

Meanwhile, Greece has been experiencing temperatures over 40C. On Friday, Athens shutdown access to the Acropolis, the country’s most popular attraction, to protect tourists from heatstroke and related risks.

A ban has also been placed for the first time on construction work and the delivery sector during the hottest hours of the day.

There is also a high risk of wildfires again this year, especially in windy areas in the country. Last year, during a heatwave of similar proportion in August, Greece’s widespread wildfires led to mass evacuations.

El Niño, a naturally occurring weather pattern that has returned after a three-year break, is expected to push European temperatures to record highs this year. The first few days of July were the hottest scientists have ever recorded.

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