It has been a long, hot summer in Southern Europe, with a scorching heat wave hitting the Meditteranean part of the continent where temperatures have risen over 109F last week. Italy, Spain and Croatia among others have suffered from infernal temperatures, with the latter battling fires of dangerous proportions on its Adriatic Coast. With Southeastern as well as Eastern Europe experiencing record-breaking heat, many popular holiday destinations are now warning both residents and visitors to stay in the shade and carry water at all times.
In Italy, the heatwave, nicknamed ‘Lucifer’ by locals, has caused a 15 per cent spike in admissions to hospital emergency units and according to weather forecasts, there won’t be a cooling down until early next week. Police confirmed this morning that a woman had died when her car was swept away in an avalanche of water and mud as a heat wave broke into storms in the Italian Alps. The tragedy occurred during the night near the famous ski resort of Cortina d’Ampezzo in the Dolomites range in the northeast of the country.
A forest fire raging in Ourense, Galicia, northwestern Spain on Friday as Southern Europe prepares itself for days of temperatures above 104F
This wildfire in Vilardevos, northwestern Spain is one of dozens fire brigades fought across Southern Europe yesterday
Two men cool down beside a fountain in the center of Bordeaux, southwestern France
A bride dressed in her wedding dress walks in a fountain in Kiev, the capital of Ukraine
This German shepherd found a respite from the heat in the famous Water Mirror fountain in Bordeaux
Members of an emergency military unit battle one of several of wildfires currently causing devestation in northwestern Spain
A young boy cools off at a river near Sofia, Bulgaria
Spain’s national weather service today issued an emergency warning for high temperatures in 31 of the country’s 50 provinces. According to weather-warning website MeteoAlarm, there is currently a ‘dangerous’ weather condition in 11 countries in Europe, including – in addition to Italy, Spain and Croatia – parts of Bosnia-Herzegovina, Switzerland, Hungary, Poland, Romania, Slovenia and Montenegro.
The Italian health ministry declared a maximum heat alert in 26 major towns and cities, where temperatures exceeded 40 degrees Celsius. In Romania, ‘red alerts’ have been issued after meteorologists have forecast 108F in western parts of the country.
Earlier this week, the thermometers at Split airport in Croatia recorded 108F, not far from the country’s highest ever temperature of 109F in 1981. Last month, the city has already seen fires spread to its suburbs but the situation was put under control after humongous efforts which lasted for several days and involved fire brigades from all over the country and the army.
High humidity in the north and hot winds coming in from Africa in the south are making the perceived temperatures seem even hotter on beaches across the Mediterranean, experts say.
Met Office forecaster Emma Sharples said: “This extreme heat will have caught some holidaymakers out and they are advised to stay out of the midday sun abroad from 10am to 2pm. They should stay hydrated and would be advised to stay close to the coast and swimming pools to cool down.”
Earlier this week a wildfire claimed the life of a 79-year-old woman, found dead in a field beside her home in Sant’Omero in the region of Abruzzo in central Italy. The women was overcome by flames that engulfed two hectares of surrounding farmland.