Europe heatwave: Red alerts issued in 15 Italian cities
Red alerts have been given for 15 cities across Italy as outrageous heat continues to affect southern Europe.
The alarms, which indicate risks even for healthy people, apply to tourist hotspots including Rome, Florence, and Bologna for the coming days.
Potential record temperatures are normal in Europe next week as another heatwave approaches.
The European Space Agency (ESA) says Italy, Spain, France, Germany, and Poland might see outrageous circumstances.
The ESA monitors land and sea temperatures through its satellites.
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.
Periods of intense heat occur within natural weather patterns, but globally they are becoming more frequent and intense and lasting longer due to global warming.
The Italian government has advised anyone in the areas covered by Saturday’s red alerts to avoid direct sunlight between 11:00 and 18:00 and to take particular care of the elderly or vulnerable.
Meanwhile, Greece has hit temperatures of 40C (104F) or more in recent days. The Acropolis – the country’s most popular tourist attraction – was closed during the hottest hours of Friday to protect visitors.
There are also fears in the country of a greater risk of wildfires, especially in areas with high winds. It suffered major wildfires in 2021 in another exceptional heatwave.
High temperatures have also been reaching into central parts of Europe, with Germany and Poland among the countries affected.
Czechia’s meteorological office issued a warning that temperatures over the weekend could go above 38C, which is exceptionally high for the country.
In the UK, however, heavy showers and gusty winds are expected in parts of England on Saturday.
Meteorologists said this was because the southern shift of the jet stream, which was fuelling the hot weather in Europe, was also drawing low-pressure systems into the UK – bringing unsettled and cooler weather.
Earlier this week, a man in his forties died from the heat after collapsing in northern Italy – while several visitors to the country have collapsed from heatstroke, including a British man outside the Colosseum in Rome.
The cause is the Cerberus heatwave – named by the Italian Meteorological Society after the three-headed monster that features in Dante’s Inferno.
Italian weather forecasters are warning that the next heatwave – dubbed Charon after the ferryman who delivered souls into the underworld in Greek mythology – will push temperatures back up above 40C next week.
Heatwaves are also seen in parts of the US, China, North Africa, and Japan.
Greece’s Culture Ministry announced the closure of the Acropolis on Friday from 12:00 to 17:00 (9:00-14:00 GMT), saying similar measures were likely to follow on Saturday.
The complex sits on a rocky hilltop with little shade and temperatures there are usually hotter than in the surrounding areas.
Earlier on Friday at least one tourist was stretchered out of the site after falling ill due to the heat, local police said.
Several other tourist sites around the Sacred Rock where the Acropolis stands remained open throughout the day.
Recently, the Greek Red Cross has been deployed to provide water bottles and help people feeling nauseous and dizzy in the heat.
People have been advised to drink at least two liters of water a day and to avoid coffee and alcohol, which are dehydrating.
Last month was the hottest June on record, according to the EU’s climate monitoring service Copernicus.
Extreme weather resulting from a warming climate is “unfortunately becoming the new normal”, the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) has warned.