Europe heatwave: Red alerts issued in European countries
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The extreme heat continues to affect southern Europe, with red alerts issued in 15 cities across Italy.

Rome, Florence, and Bologna are among the tourist hot spots targeted by the alerts, which indicate risks even for healthy people.

Another heatwave is expected to sweep Europe next week, potentially setting record temperatures.

Italy, Spain, France, Germany and Poland may experience extreme weather conditions, according to the European Space Agency (ESA).

Satellites of the ESA monitor land and sea temperatures.

This week could see temperatures similar to 48.8C in Sicily in August 2021, the hottest temperature ever recorded in Europe.

Due to global warming, intense heat periods are becoming more frequent, more intense and lasting longer in natural weather patterns.

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Any residents in the areas covered by Saturday’s red alerts are advised to avoid direct sunlight between 11:00 and 18:00, and to take special care of the elderly.

Over the past few days, temperatures in Greece have reached 40 degrees Celsius (104 degrees Fahrenheit). As a precaution, the Acropolis – the country’s most popular tourist attraction – was closed on Friday during the hottest part of the day.

As a result of high winds, wildfires are also at greater risk in many parts of the country. Another exceptional heatwave in 2021 caused major wildfires.

Germany and Poland have also been affected by high temperatures in central parts of Europe.

Czech meteorologists warned that temperatures over the weekend could reach 38C, which is extremely high for the country.

On Saturday, heavy showers and gusty winds are expected in parts of England.

As a result of the southern shift of the jet stream, which fuels the hot weather in Europe, low-pressure systems are also bringing unsettled weather to the UK.

Volunteers from the Hellenic Red Cross handing out water bottles in Athens on Friday

An Italian man in his forties died earlier this week after collapsing in the heat – and several visitors to the country have also collapsed from heatstroke, including a British man outside the Colosseum.

Cerberus heatwave, named after the monster featured in Dante’s Inferno by the Italian Meteorological Society, is the cause.

Forecasters predict that next week’s heatwave – dubbed Charon after the ferryman who delivered souls to the underworld in Greek mythology – will push temperatures back above 40C.

The US, China, North Africa, and Japan are also experiencing heatwaves.

On Friday, the Greek Culture Ministry announced that the Acropolis would be closed from 12:00 to 17:00 (9:00-14:00 GMT), and similar measures would likely follow on Saturday.

There is little shade at the complex, which is located on a rocky hilltop. The temperatures are usually higher than in the neighborhood.

One tourist was stretchered out of the site earlier on Friday after becoming ill from the heat.

Acropolis and other tourist sites around the Sacred Rock remained open throughout the day.

Greek Red Cross volunteers have been providing water bottles and helping people feeling dizzy and nauseous in recent days.

It is recommended that people drink at least two liters of water a day and avoid caffeine and alcohol, which dehydrate the body.

The EU’s Copernicus climate monitoring service said June last year was the hottest on record.

The World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) warns that extreme weather is “unfortunately becoming the new normal” due to global warming.