GlobalEurope still overwhelmed with heat, seaside areas evacuated in Greece: 43°C in...

Europe still overwhelmed with heat, seaside areas evacuated in Greece: 43°C in Sicily, 44 in Spain

In Kouvaras, about 50 km east of the Greek capital, another fire raged, spreading as far as Avavyssos, 40 km south-east of Athens, in the densely populated region of Attica, and this while Greece has been suffering a heat wave since Thursday with peaks of more than 44°C in the center of its territory.

In Cyprus, where temperatures are expected to remain above 40 degrees until Thursday, a 90-year-old man died on Sunday and three other elderly people are hospitalized with heat stroke, authorities said.

43°C in Sicily, 44 in southern Spain

In Italy, records were not broken on Monday, with 39°C in the shade in Rome. The maximum temperature, 43°C, was recorded in Agrigento, Sicily, and Taranto in Puglia, also in the south.

The peak of heat is expected on Tuesday in Sardinia, an island where the mercury could approach 48°C.

“We live in Texas and it’s really hot there. We thought we’d escape the heat, but here it’s even hotter,” Colman Peavy, a 30-year-old American tourist visiting Italy, told AFP. with his wife Ana.

In Spain, which is emerging from an already sweltering week, the weather agency has issued an orange alert for Monday.

In the southern region of Murcia, 44°C was locally reached, 42 near Alicante.

The situation will worsen on Tuesday as some places will be “10 to 15°C” above normal. The alert will turn red over Aragon (north), Catalonia (north-east) and the island of Mallorca (east), with 42° to 44° expected.

The intense heat episode should last until Wednesday, before declining from Thursday.

Barcelona (AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti) ©Copyright 2023 The Associated Press. All rights reserved

“Tropicalization of the climate”

In Europe, warming is twice as fast as the global average, experts note, and Mediterranean countries are particularly affected.

“The hot air which generally descends on the African promontory creating deserts, has moved towards Europe. In this sense, we can speak of a tropicalization of the climate”, explains to AFP Claudio Cassardo, a meteorologist and professor at the University of Turin.

“I can’t stand the heat,” confesses Marian, a taxi driver from Bucharest exposed to very high temperatures.

“That’s why tomorrow I’m taking my wife and children to the mountains”, adds this 51-year-old man, regretting “the time when the seasons were the seasons in Romania”, where the mercury is around 40 on Monday. °.

Same story in Athens, where Nancy Vikeli stands in the sun from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. to sell sim cards from a major telephone company.

“The working conditions are very difficult,” admits the young woman. “We often take breaks to cool off and go to the shade.”

Megafires in Canada

In the United States, the weather services observe an “oppressive” heat wave in the south and predict several temperature records.

In the famous Death Valley, in California, one of the hottest places on the planet, the thermometer showed 52°C on Sunday.

Several very violent fires in the south of the state have devastated the evacuation of the population. The largest, Rabbit Fire, burned some 3,200 hectares. He was 35% under control as of Monday morning, authorities said.

In Arizona, the capital Phoenix chained an 18th day above 43°C, equaling its record with another 45°C on Monday afternoon.

This handout photo provided by the British Columbia Wildfire Service on July 16, 2023, shows an aerial view of the Young Creek wildfire in Tweedsmuir South Provincial Park, British Columbia, Canada.  Canadian wildfires have burned more than 10 million hectares (24.7 million acres) this year, a record-breaking figure that has surpassed scientists' most pessimistic predictions, government data showed on July 15, 2023. The prior all-time high occurred in 1989, when 7.3 million hectares were burned over the course of an entire year, according to national figures from the Canadian Interagency Forest Fire Center (CIFFC).  (Photo by Handout / BC Wildfire Service / AFP) / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE - MANDATORY CREDIT "AFP PHOTO / BC Wildfire Service / Handout" - NO MARKETING NO ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS - DISTRIBUTED AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS
British Columbia on July 16, 2023 (Photo by Handout / BC Wildfire Service / AFP)

“Strong to severe thunderstorms, heavy rain and flooding are possible in multiple locations,” particularly in New England, the National Weather Service warned. Other states are threatened.

In Canada, more than ten million hectares have already burned this year, with 882 fires still active on Monday, including 579 considered out of control, explained the Canadian Interagency Forest Fire Center (CIFFC).

Two firefighters died fighting these megafires, authorities said.

The smoke has once again migrated to the United States, triggering air quality alerts in a large part of the American Northeast.

Heatstroke in Japan and China

Japan issued heat stroke alerts on Monday for 32 of its 47 prefectures, which are experiencing temperatures close to the all-time high of 41.1°C reached in 2018.

“The climate has clearly changed. Before, the temperature (in Yamanashi prefecture, near Tokyo) never reached 30°. Now, they are easily reached”, regrets Tomoya Abe, 50, returning from a stay at the campsite to flee his apartment in the capital “where the temperature can rise to 37°”.

This country is also facing torrential rains that have killed at least eight people.

China meanwhile broke a record for mid-July on Sunday, with 52.2°C in the arid region of Xinjiang (west).

Will the “worrying” heat wave observed in several European countries affect Belgium?

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