ATHENS, Greece (AP) — Tourists in central Athens huddled under fog machines and zoo animals in Madrid were fed lollipops Thursday as southern Europeans suffered from a heat wave that was projected to get much worse before Sunday. weekend.
Temperatures in parts of Mediterranean Europe are forecast to hit 45 degrees Celsius (113 F) starting Friday, July 14.
The high-pressure system affecting the region, which crossed the Mediterranean from North Africa, was named Cerberus, after the three-headed dog in ancient Greek mythology that guarded the gates of the underworld.
Officials in several countries were preparing emergency measures, cell phone alerts and adjustments in staffing levels.
READ: As temperatures soared in Europe last year, so did heat-related deaths, according to a study
In Athens and other Greek cities, working hours for the public sector and many businesses have been changed to avoid the midday heat, while 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 yeah, it’s hard.”
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 major heat wave, with temperatures expected to rise to 48 degrees Celsius on the islands of Sicily and Sardinia, possibly the highest temperatures ever recorded in Europe,” he said. the agency on Thursday.
In the Arctic, a record high temperature of 28.8 degrees Celsius (83.8 degrees F) was measured at Slettness Fyr in the far north of Norway, Norwegian meteorologists said on Thursday.
This beats a previous record from July 1964 when the thermometer reached 27.6 degrees Celsius (81.7 degrees F).
The United Nations World Meteorological Organization said Monday that global temperatures recorded in early July were among the highest on record.
READ: For the third time this week, the Earth sets a heat record on July 6
As Spanish politicians worry about how high temperatures could affect turnout in this month’s general election, animals at the Madrid zoo were given frozen food this week to cool off in sweltering heat.
Zookeepers fed pandas and bears frozen watermelon popsicles, frozen sardines to seals, and frozen meat cubes to lions. Television advertisements in Italy reminded city dwellers to take care of their pets and check in regularly with older relatives. Authorities were awaiting an autopsy on a 44-year-old road worker who collapsed near Milan and later died in hospital. Storms toppled trees overnight in an Italian region bordering Slovenia and Austria, while baseball-sized hail pelted valleys near Bergamo in Lombardy.
The rains provided some respite in Croatia, but evacuation orders were issued in several areas as a wildfire swept through the country’s coastal areas.
READ: Schools and hospitals in European cities at risk from extreme heat, says EU agency
In North Macedonia, the heat prompted a surge in emergency calls for medical assistance, while residents of Kosovo, which is also landlocked, flocked to an artificial beach near the capital Pristina. Cyprus authorities urged residents of the Mediterranean island to avoid forest areas where wildfires could break out unintentionally.
Meanwhile, emergency services in nearby Turkey also dealt with simultaneous fires and floods. Floods on the northern Black Sea coast claimed three lives.
In the southwestern region of Milas, 26 water-dropping planes and helicopters helped 600 firefighters contain a forest fire.
“While there is heat and fires on one side of the country, there are floods and deluges on the other,” Turkey’s Deputy Agriculture Minister Veysel Tiryaki said on Thursday. “In our country, as well as around the world, we are fighting climate change.”
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