Heatwave hits Europe

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Sweltering temperatures are sizzling across Europe with some regions facing temperatures expected to climb well above 40 degrees Celsius, the European Space Agency said. The European Space Agency (ESA), whose satellites monitor land and sea temperatures, said Italy, Spain, France, Germany and Poland had all been affected by scorching temperatures. 

The heatwave is set to hit the Italian peninsula and its islands over the next few days, with temperatures expected to break all-time records. The Ministry of Health has issued a red alert, valid throughout the weekend, for several central cities, from Rome to Bologna, Florence to Pescara, where temperatures are expected to reach a maximum of 37°C from Sunday, before peaking at the beginning of the week.In Rome, temperatures could rise to 40°C on Monday, then 42 or 43°C on Tuesday, shattering the previous record of 40.5°C set in the capital in August 2007. Sardinia could also break the record of 48.8°C set on 11 August 2021, the highest temperature ever measured in Europe.The north of the peninsula is not expected to be spared, with 38°C expected in Milan on Tuesday.Health and medical facilities are already being mobilised across the country to care for the most vulnerable people, particularly those suffering from dehydration, and to provide care for the elderly in nursing homes.

In Greece, the Acropolis was partially closed for a second day, with the national weather service warning that “parts of the country could see highs as much as 44 degrees Celsius on Saturday.”

In Spain, the national meteorological service said temperatures in the eastern Iberian Peninsula and the Balearic Islands would rise to between 40 and 42 degrees Celsius. At least 2,000 people have been evacuated as a forest fire burned out of control in the Spanish island of La Palma, authorities said on Saturday.

The fire in La Palma started in the early hours of Saturday morning in El Pinar de Puntagorda, a wooded area at the north of the island in the Canaries. The blaze forced the evacuation of Puntagorda and neighbouring Tijarafe.Marcos Lorenzo, the mayor of Tijarafe, told the Spanish television station RTVE that people in the village were evacuated as the fire spread, but it was not clear how many had actually left.At least 12 houses were destroyed as the fire advanced, said Fernando Clavijo, president of the Canary Islands. “The number of people who need to be evacuated could rise. It depends on whether we can bring these strong winds under control,” Clavijo told reporters in La Palma.

In Sibenik, a town on the Croatian coast, firefighters worked to extinguish bushfires sparked by hot temperatures.Heat waves occur when high pressure in the atmosphere moves in and pushes warm air toward the ground. A high-pressure system has drifted across the Mediterranean Sea from North Africa, with climate change making heat waves more frequent.

Euronews/DW/AP/Reuters/DPA/France 24

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