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The heat suffocates Italy with historic temperatures and the risk of forest fires grows

The heat wave that is registered in the Mediterranean is causing in Italy the warmest week of the year and the southern and central-western areas of the country are on alert at least until the end of the week with historical temperatures that exceed 45 degrees.

The situation is also worrying in other countries on the southern Mediterranean shore, such as Morocco or Algeria, where the thermometers reached 47 degrees, amidst widespread forest fires and already left dozens of deaths.

On the northern shore of the Mediterranean, Spain, France, Greece and the Balkan countries, in addition to Italy, took measures to minimize the effects of this heat wave which, according to weather forecasts, will not give truce until the weekend.

On Wednesday, the city of Syracuse, on the island of Sicily (southern Italy), reached 48.8 degrees, according to the Agrometeorological Information Service (SIAS) of the regional government, a figure that could mean a new heat record in Europe and would exceed 48 degrees from Athens in 1977.

On the island, the maximums this Thursday were expected in the central-southern part, with temperatures between 42 and 44 degrees and up to 46 near the cities of Trapani and Agrigento.

Since Wednesday afternoon, the firefighters also received more than 200 warnings for fires in Sicily, although the authorities indicated that the most tense hours seem to have passed.

Anyway, meteorologists warn that maximum temperatures are still forecast, so they urge not to lower your guard.

Also on the other large Italian island, Sardinia, where peaks of 43.1 degrees were recorded on Wednesday, highs that do not drop below 35 were expected on Thursday and may reach 41.

Bottles of water in Rome

The rest of the southern regions follow on alert: Calabria, the tip of the Italian “boot”, which touched 42 degrees, today expects maximums of 38 degrees; the same as Campania, with its capital in Naples, and Lazio, the region of Rome, where it reached 40 degrees on Wednesday.

Although the Italian capital is full of fountains, Rome’s Civil Protection service enabled various water bottle supply points for the Romans and the thousands of tourists who, despite the heat, stroll through the city every day.

Also Tuscany, a region north of Rome, expected maximums of 39 degrees in cities like its capital, Florence.

It is estimated that the heat will begin to lull in the country as of Friday, when it will drop a few degrees.

Storms and relief in Greece

Greece woke up this Thursday with local storms that gave a respite to two weeks of suffocation, with temperatures that exceeded 46 degrees, in which the country experienced the worst wave of fires in memory.

The slight drop in temperature and the rains, even if they were brief, helped on the island of Euboea, the hardest hit by the fire, where firefighters are focused on quelling outbreaks that are emerging in different parts of the north of the island.

The first estimates point to 90,000 hectares burned throughout the country, an unprecedented ecological disaster.

Alert in Spain and France

Most of Spain is on alert for temperatures that may exceed 42 degrees this Thursday and the 44 in coming days, such as the regions of Aragon and Catalonia (northeast), which are at extreme risk.

Only the northern regions will be spared this heat wave, for which the authorities took measures in some places, such as prohibiting or restricting the use of agricultural machinery, and access to forests and other natural landscapes.

The heat also reached France, where peaks of 40 degrees are expected in the southeast of the country and a score of departments are under surveillance due to high temperatures.

Source: EFE and DPA

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