Unprecedented heatwave is being faced by Greece, which is expected to be the longest in the nation’s history. Meteorologists predict that temperatures will reach a 50-year high for July over the upcoming weekend.
Kostas Lagouvardos, the director of research at the Athens National Observatory, highlighted that the heatwave is likely to extend for 16-17 days, a duration never before seen in the country. A heatwave in Greece is characterized as a period when temperatures reach or exceed 39C (102F).
The extreme heat has not only affected Greece but has also impacted southern Europe, the US, and north Africa. Italy has already experienced its third heatwave of the summer, and Spain is bracing for soaring temperatures on Sunday, coinciding with national elections.
In the US, Phoenix has had 70 days where temperatures have not dipped below 32C, including a three-week stretch where temperatures reached 43C in the Arizona capital. While in Tunisia, temperatures are 6C to 10C above the average for this time of year.
Meteorologist Panagiotis Giannopoulos forecasts that Athens will experience temperatures hotter than 40C for at least six to seven days. Successive days of extreme heat are unusual for the Greek capital.
Government ministries have advised people to work from home where possible and not to go out unnecessarily. Authorities will close key tourism sites, including the Acropolis, a world heritage site, during the hottest part of the day. The Acropolis will remain shut from midday to 5.30pm every day until Sunday.
Chalkida hospital on the central island of Evia reported that they admitted a 46-year-old man who died from heat stroke. The hospital said cardio-respiratory failure after exposure to high temperatures appeared to be the cause.