Intense heatwave gripped southern Europe on Thursday, with forecasters predicting that temperatures may break records across the continent next week.
Greece, Cyprus, Italy, Spain’s Canary Islands, and all of Europe were under weather alerts, with the Greek government anticipating highs of 109.4 degrees Fahrenheit on Friday or Saturday.
According to local media, an ambulance was placed on alert close to the Athens archaeological monument of the Acropolis, ready to administer first treatment to tourists stricken by heatstroke.
On Thursday, tourists in Athens sought cover on the hilltop of the historic Acropolis. by AP’s Petros Giannakouris
This week, studies that suggested as many as 61,000 people may have perished in Europe’s searing heatwaves last summer brought the effects of high summer heat into sharp relief.
The most recent heatwave, which the Italian Meteorological Society has dubbed “Cerberus,” the three-headed dog of the underworld from Greek mythology, is putting pressure on governments and employers to do more to safeguard workers exposed to the scorching sun.
After a 44-year-old man who was painting road markings in the northern town of Lodi collapsed and his away this week, there are worries about the impact on individuals working outdoors in Italy.
For the next two days, health officials have issued a top-red alert for ten Italian towns, including Rome, Florence, Bologna, and Perugia.
In Greece, the government has ordered the suspension of work in places where the risk of heat stroke is quite high and has also asked that employees in the private sector with medical issues work remotely.
After Sentinel 3 satellite photographs from the European Space Agency on Tuesday indicated that the land surface temperature in the western region of Extremadura had exceeded 140 degrees Fahrenheit, there was some relief in Spain on Thursday.
On Friday or Saturday, temperatures in Greece could reach as high as 109.4 degrees Fahrenheit.Getty Images, Giorgos Arapekos / NurPhoto
The air temperature—which is much lower than the figure for the ground surface—is used in weather forecasts and official records.
According to the European Space Agency, the 120°F record for Europe could be broken next week. That mark was set in Sicily in August 2021.
Once again, Italy is anticipated to be one of the hotspots.
A stronger heatwave than this one will occur the following week, according to Luca Lombroso, a meteorologist with the Italian AMPRO group. “Some values in the central south will be really freaky.”
“In Rome and Florence between Tuesday and Wednesday, we will probably surpass 104 degrees, which will also be approached in the north,” he continued.
At the Barcaccia fountain in Rome’s Piazza di Spagna on Wednesday, visitors cool off. Getty Images/Corbis/Stephano Montesi
Nine million senior Italians are thought to live alone or with an elderly companion, and Marco Impagliazzo, president of the Sant’Egidio Catholic charity, claimed that these individuals are particularly vulnerable.
“With this solitude and this heat emergency, we see an explosive mix,” he said at a press conference.
People are not the only ones who are suffering.
According to the Italian farmers’ advocacy group Coldiretti, milk output has decreased by about 10% as a result of cows eating less and producing less milk due to the heat.