Last week the National Observatory in Athens issues a heatwave warning of sustained blistering temperatures to continue until the end of July. Worse still, reports from elsewhere in the world tell of roofs and roads melting under unprecedented heat.
The meteorological service said temperatures this season are expected to be 10 degrees Celcius above normal. The bulletin on Thursday announced that the relatively cool air masses which had prevailed over eastern Europe and spared it the heatwaves of western parts are gradually giving way to warmer air masses.
Meteorologist Giannis Kallianos was cited in Greek Reporter and elsewhere, saying temperatures will reach 41 to 42 degrees Celsius in some areas, including the lowlands of Central Macedonia, the west of Thessaloniki, the lowland parts of Pella and the Kilkis prefecture, and the Thessalian plain. Experts say the Greece heat wave is unprecedented.
The forecast includes Attica temperatures reaching 40-41°C on Sunday and Monday. But it’s not only Greece being hammered by lethal heat. The entirety of Europe faces unparalleled temperatures. In the UK, for instance, the highest temperature ever, 41° Celsius—105.8° Fahrenheit, attests to UK meteorologists’ calls for alarm and the country’s first-ever Red warning for extreme heat. It’s so hot in London Hammersmith Bridge there is being wrapped in aluminum foil to stop cracking in the historic bridge.
Elsewhere, reports of the entire Northern Hemisphere heating up are cause for alarm. CNN reported two days ago on record-breaking heat waves setting “swathes of Europe’s countryside on fire, scorched the US and put dozens of Chinese cities under alert.”
One town in America, Wichita Falls, Texas, reached a broiling 115 degrees Fahrenheit (46.1 degrees Celsius) this past Wednesday. Other records stretch from Italy to Norway in Europe. Heat advisories are in place now, warning over 100 million Americans to take measures to protect themselves. Across the Pacific in Japan, temperatures surpassed 104.4 degrees (40.2 Celsius) for the first time in history.
Finally, wildfires now rage across Greece, Spain, and Italy as this heatwave moves across Europe. In Greece, the first months of the year saw more than thirty forest fires rage across the country. Some 2,471 acres of land, compared to the average of 92 acres, were burned before June. And now, the heat is much worse. Here on Crete, the Agios Vassilios wildfire in Rethymno threatened much of the central highlands of the island before being brought under control.
Officials are mulling new restrictions on tourists and locals to stem the dangerous trend.