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Tunis hit record 49C in heat wave

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TUNIS (Reuters) – A heat spike across northern Tunisia caused record temperatures on Tuesday including a sweltering 49 degrees Celsius (120 degrees Fahrenheit) in the capital Tunis, the Meteorological Institute said. 

In some parts of the country the high temperatures led to power outages as people stayed at home running air conditioning, putting extra pressure on the electricity system. 

Tunisia’s Meteorological Institute said the previous highest recorded temperature in Tunis was 46.8C in 1982. The northern cities of Bizerte and Beja also endured their highest recorded temperatures on Tuesday. 

A U.N. climate panel warned on Monday that climate change was close to spiralling out of control and that the world was already certain to face further climate disruptions for decades, if not centuries, to come.

In the Mediterranean region, high temperatures over the past week have contributed to wildfires that have swept through forested parts of Greece, Turkey and Tunisia’s neighbour Algeria.

Fires also blazed in some mountainous parts of western Tunisia on Tuesday and Wednesday. 

Slightly lower temperatures in the low 40s Celsius were forecast across northern Tunisia on Wednesday. 

(Reporting by Tarek Amara and Angus McDowall; Editing by Tomasz Janowski)