DEREK GATOPULOS and CIARAN GILES (Associated Press)
ATHENS, Greece (FloridaToday.news) — Tourists in central Athens huddled under fog machines and zoo animals in Madrid fed on popsicles Thursday as southern Europeans suffered from a heat wave that was forecast to get much worse ahead of the weekend.
Temperatures in parts of Mediterranean Europe are forecast to hit 45 degrees Celsius (113 F) starting Friday.
The high pressure system affecting this region, which crossed the Mediterranean from North Africa, was named Cerberus after the three-headed dog from ancient Greek mythology that guarded the gates to the underworld.
Officials in several countries were preparing emergency measures, mobile phone alerts and staffing adjustments.
In Athens and other Greek cities, the opening hours of the public sector and many businesses have been changed to avoid the midday heat, and air-conditioned areas have been opened to the public.
“It’s like being in Africa,” Balint Jolan, a 24-year-old tourist from Hungary, told The Associated Press. “It’s not much hotter than it is now at home, but yes, it’s difficult.”
Cerberus is being tracked by the European Space Agency, which has warned that the heat wave will also be felt in parts of northern Europe.
“Italy, Spain, France, Germany and Poland are facing a severe heatwave, with temperatures expected to rise to 48 degrees Celsius on the islands of Sicily and Sardinia – potentially the highest temperatures ever recorded in Europe,” the agency said. on Thursday.
In the Arctic, a record high temperature of 28.8 degrees Celsius (83.8 degrees Fahrenheit) was measured at Slettness Für at the northern tip of Norway, Norwegian meteorologists said on Thursday. This exceeds the previous record in July 1964, when the thermometer hit 27.6 degrees Celsius (81.7 degrees Fahrenheit). The UN World Meteorological Organization on Monday said global temperatures recorded in early July were among the highest on record. As Spanish politicians worry about how high temperatures could affect turnout in this month’s general election, animals at the Madrid Zoo were treated to frozen food this week to cool off in the sweltering heat. Zookeepers fed pandas and bears watermelon ice cream, seals fed frozen sardines, and lions fed frozen meat. Television ads in Italy have reminded citizens to take care of their pets and meet with elderly relatives regularly. Authorities were awaiting an autopsy on a 44-year-old road worker who collapsed near Milan and later died in hospital. Nighttime storms toppled trees in the Italian region bordering Slovenia and Austria, and baseball-sized hail fell in valleys near Bergamo in Lombardy.
The rains have brought some respite to Croatia, but evacuation orders have been issued in several areas as wildfires have engulfed the country’s coastal areas. In North Macedonia, heatwaves have sparked a surge in calls for medical help, while residents of Kosovo, which is also landlocked, have flocked to an artificial beach near the capital, Pristina. The Cypriot authorities have urged the inhabitants of the Mediterranean island to avoid forested areas where unintentional forest fires can start.
Meanwhile, emergency services in neighboring Turkey were also battling concurrent fires and floods. Flooding on the northern coast of the Black Sea claimed the lives of three people. In the southwestern Milas region, 26 water drop planes and helicopters helped 600 firefighters contain the wildfire. “While there is heat and fire on one side of the country, there are floods and floods on the other,” Turkish Deputy Agriculture Minister Veysel Tiryaki said on Thursday. “In our country, as elsewhere in the world, we are fighting climate change.” ___ Ciaran Giles reported from Madrid. Jovana Gek on Belgrade, Serbia Srdjan Nedeljkovic in Athens, Menelaos Hadjikostis in Nicosia in Cyprus, Jan M. Olsen in Copenhagen, Denmark, Andrew Wilks in Ankara, Turkey, Konstantin Testorides in Skopje, North Macedonia, Colleen Barry in Milan, Italy and Floran Bayrami in Pristina, Kosovo.