Southern Europe is baking in the grips of a heatwave that has seen one part of Spain hit a sweltering 45C and temperatures rise in Italy, Greece and Turkey.
The Greek National Weather Service expects a six-day heatwave that will grip Greece from Wednesday, July 12th, with temperatures hitting highs of 43 degrees Celsius (109.4 Fahrenheit) towards the end of the week.
The heatwave has been named Cerberus, after the three-headed dog that guarded the gates to the Underworld in Greek mythology.
On Thursday the heat will spread to almost the entire country, with the temperature in Central Macedonia and the interior of Epirus reaching 40C, while it will climb up to 41C in central Greece. According to the available forecast data, a slight drop in maximum temperatures is expected after Saturday but they will remain at high levels for much of the next week.
In Spain, thermometers reached 45C on Monday in the village of Loja, near Granada, at the start of the heatwave.
Precautions are advised for people with chronic illnesses (cardiovascular disease, hypertension, diabetes mellitus, lung disease, kidney disease, liver disease, mental illness, dementia, alcoholism or drug abuse etc) and patients suffering from other medical conditions.
Greece has experienced an average of 0.7 heatwaves per year from 1950 to 2020, but this average value has increased to 1.1 heatwaves per year from 1990 to 2020, according to a recent study.
Meanwhile, the European observatory Copernicus warned that the summer of 2023 is set to be one of the most unusual in human history. The combined effect of climate change and the return of the El Niño phenomenon are pushing ocean and land temperatures to unprecedented levels.