Heatwave Charon expected to break record 48.8C as it hits Europe

Heatwave Charon expected to break record 48.8C as it hits Europe

A new fearsome heat wave is expected to unleash record-breaking 48.8C temperatures in Europe this week as British tourists across the Mediterranean brace themselves for more stifling heat.

Tourists have collapsed and fainted in Italy and Greece, and fires have ripped through homes in La Palma and Turkey last week after temperatures hit 43 degrees Celsius across southern Europe.

But the scorching temperatures are set to rise further in the coming days as a new anticyclone called Charon, the ferryman of the dead in Greek mythology, reached Europe from North Africa on Sunday night.

The Italian island of Sardinia is set to bear the brunt of the unforgiving heat, with forecasters predicting temperatures could reach a record-breaking 48.8C. The previous record high of 48.8C was recorded in the Sicilian town of Florida on August 11, 2021.

British tourists across the Mediterranean are being warned of the life-threatening effects of extreme heat, with temperatures set to reach 45C in Antalya, Turkey, by the end of the week. In Spain, temperatures will rise to 44 degrees Celsius tomorrow.

In Cyprus and Athens, Greece, where authorities have closed the Acropolis, its top tourist attraction, at the hottest time, tourists will endure 41C heat later this week.

And in Italy, tourists were warned of ‘the most intense heat wave of the summer and one of the most intense ever’.

A view of the beach at Torre Faro Pilone near Messina on the island of Sicily crowded with bathers during a heatwave on Sunday

People cool off at a water fountain in Messina on the island of Sicily during a heatwave on Sunday

Holidaymakers gather under the shade of trees on a beach in Zaygi, Cyprus on Sunday

A wildfire swept through La Palma in the Canary Islands over the weekend, forcing nearly 4,000 people to evacuate their homes.

Health officials have issued red hot weather warnings for 16 major cities across Italy, including Rome where temperatures are expected to soar to a record-breaking 43 degrees Celsius. The capital’s previous record high was 40.5 Celsius in August 2007.

A red alert warning means that the heat is so intense that it poses a health risk to the entire population – not just vulnerable groups like the elderly and very young children.

Italian weather news service Meteo.it warned on Sunday, ‘We have to prepare for a severe heat storm that will blanket the whole country day after day.’ ‘Old heat records will be broken in some places.’

Italian Health Minister Orazio Schillaci said people need to take care visiting Rome’s famous ruins.

‘It is not advisable to go to the Colosseum when it is 43C (109.4F), especially for an elderly person,’ he told Il Messagerro newspaper on Sunday, adding that people should stay indoors between 11am and 6pm.

Apart from the Italian capital, health warnings were in place from the central city of Florence to Palermo in Sicily and Bari in the southeast of the peninsula, while temperatures began to build further north.

‘It’s not normal. I don’t remember such intense heat, especially at this time of the year,’ said Federico Bratti, sunbathing on Lake Garda.

And the airport in the Sicilian city of Catania was closed until Wednesday after a fire broke out late Sunday night.

Firefighters said they were able to bring the blaze under control about 90 minutes after the call, but did not provide any details on the possible cause or any link to the current high temperatures in the region.

Catania issued a hot weather red alert on Sunday among several Italian cities, including the Sicilian capital Palermo and Messina, the third island’s largest city, as the country braced for record high temperatures in the coming days.

Flights at the Sicilian airport, which according to the Assoaeroporti sector group, ranked fifth in Italy for traffic last year and first on the island, were suspended until 1200 GMT on Wednesday, the management agency said.

Ansa news agency reported that thick smoke billowed from the lower part of the facility after the fire, which sent screams from the airport and people rushing in distress. No one was injured.

Scorching heat is wreaking havoc across Europe, with wildfires spreading across the continent and tourists fainting from the blistering heat.

Britons traveling in the Mediterranean told how the heat was so intense they suffered sunstroke and were forced to stay indoors during the hottest part of the day.

In Spain, forecasters warned of the risk of forest fires and said it would not be easy to sleep at night with temperatures expected to drop below 25C across the country.

The heat wave will intensify from Monday, with temperatures reaching 44 degrees Celsius in the Guadalquivir valley near Seville in the south of the country, forecasters said.

A couple takes shelter from the sun under the shade of a nearby tree in Seville, Spain on Sunday

A man cools off in a fountain during a heat wave in Rome, Italy, on Sunday

A man cools off on Mondello Beach during a heat wave that swept through Italy on Saturday in Palermo, Italy

People bathe in the area of ​​Lake Sirio to cool off in the Italian province of Turin on Sunday

A woman takes a bath at Mondello beach to cool off during a heat wave across Italy, Saturday in Palermo

Holidaymakers cool off in the sea at Torre Faro Pilone beach near Messina on the island of Sicily during a heatwave on Sunday

Tourists sit in a horse-drawn carriage in Seville amid rising temperatures in Spain on Sunday

People enjoy the shady banks of the Guadiaro River at ‘La Cueva del Gato’ near Benaojan in southern Spain on Saturday

On the Spanish island of La Palma in the Canaries, meanwhile, at least 4,000 people had to be evacuated as forest fires raged due to heat waves, authorities said.

On Sunday, Spanish authorities said more favorable weather had helped firefighters slow the fire’s progress.

The blaze, which started on Saturday, has burned about 4,600 hectares (11,300 acres) and destroyed about 20 houses and buildings.

Europe’s highest recorded temperature of 48.8 Celsius, registered in Sicily two years ago, could be surpassed in the coming days, especially on the Italian island of Sardinia, meteorologists said.

‘I’m really struggling with the heat. I bought a mini fan, an umbrella and a bottle of water,’ said Lilu da Costa Rosa, a 48-year-old Brazilian saleswoman who arrived in Rome on Sunday.

At the Vatican, 15,000 people braved sweltering temperatures Sunday to hear Pope Francis lead a prayer, using parasols and fans to keep cool.

But in their black robes, priests like Francois Mbemba said they were ‘sweating like hell’.

The 29-year-old said it felt hotter in St Peter’s Square than in his Democratic Republic of Congo diocese.

On the Spanish island of La Palma in the Canaries, meanwhile, at least 4,000 people had to be evacuated as forest fires raged due to heat waves, authorities said.

Flames from the La Palma fire can be seen in the background on Saturday

People cool off in an aerial view along Torre Faro Pilone beach, near Messina on the island of Sicily, Saturday

People cool off on Mondello beach during a heatwave across Italy in Palermo, Italy, on Saturday

Tourists at the Roman Colosseum braved hot conditions on another hot day with high temperatures in Rome on Saturday

A tourist shelters from the heat of the sun with a scarf on his head in Rome on Saturday

Athens’ Acropolis, one of Greece’s top tourist attractions, was closed for a third day on Sunday amid the heat wave.

The devastating effects of the heat wave were seen across Europe, with a 44-year-old road sign worker dying in Italy due to the heat.

The 44-year-old Italian man, whose name has not been released, collapsed last Tuesday in the Italian city of Lodi, southeast of Milan, due to the heat as temperatures soared above 40 degrees Celsius. The worker, who did not want to be named, later died at the hospital.

Scientists have relentlessly warned of the damaging effects of climate change. As well as drying up crops, melting glaciers and increasing the risk of wildfires, higher-than-normal temperatures cause health problems ranging from heatstroke and dehydration to cardiovascular stress.

The Red Cross is urging people to check those most vulnerable, such as children and the elderly, during high temperatures.

It urges people to stay hydrated and watch for signs of heatstroke, which can include vomiting and fainting.

Scientists say climate change combined with this year’s rise in the El Niño weather pattern, which warms surface waters in the eastern and central Pacific Ocean, has fueled the record-breaking temperatures.

El Niño events, which occur every two to seven years, are characterized by warmer than average sea surface temperatures in the central and eastern Pacific near the equator and last about nine to 12 months.

The world has warmed by about 1.2C on average since the mid-1800s, with more intense heat waves, more intense droughts and storms, including extreme weather, and ocean warming.

Oceans absorb much of the heat generated by global-warming gases, causing heat waves that harm aquatic life, change weather patterns, and disrupt important planetary-regulating systems.

In June, global sea surface temperatures hit record highs. Antarctic sea ice reached its lowest extent this month since satellite monitoring began, at 17 percent below average, breaking the previous June record by a significant margin.

Although sea surface temperatures typically decline relatively quickly from annual peaks, they were high this year, scientists warned, underscoring a subtle but serious impact of climate change.


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