Athens/Madrid/Rome, Jul 13 (EFE). – A heatwave that is sweeping across southern Europe and could reach record-breaking temperatures has forced some governments to adopt extraordinary measures to cope with the extreme conditions.
In Greece, authorities on Thursday urged residents to work from home where possible and asked employers to allow for flexible working hours amid calls for people to avoid the midday heat.
Temperatures are expected to reach 44 degrees by Friday, according to the Hellenic National Meteorological Service (EMI).
Many municipalities have kept air-conditioned rooms and spaces open so that citizens can take shelter from the scorching heat.
EMI has issued a warning that, by Friday, most of mainland Greece will see temperatures above 40 degrees, while in the central part of the country, the mercury will reach at least 44 degrees.
On Saturday the extreme heat wave will remain and on Sunday temperatures will start to drop.
According to MEGA TV, authorities are mulling the closure of the Acropolis in Athens where thermometers will reach 42 degrees Friday.
The monument closed during the 2019 and 2021 heat waves.
Since May, some 15,000 tourists have been visiting the site daily and many of them have to wait for up to an hour under the sun to gain access to the site due to entry quotas.
High temperatures will continue during the following week when strong winds are expected to sweep across the country prompting the Ministry of Civil Protection to issue an increased fire risk warning from Monday.
In 2021, Greece had a balmy summer where temperatures reached 46 degrees surpassing the record of 1987 when a heat wave caused 1,300 deaths.
A red weather warning was issued by Spanish authorities on the island of Gran Canaria with temperatures expected to reach between 40-41 degrees.
Red-level warnings were rolled out on the southern, eastern and western slopes of Gran Canaria and on the summit of the island with temperatures expected to reach 41 degrees.
The entire territory of Lanzarote, Fuerteventura, La Gomera and El Hierro, the summit of La Palma and the south, east and west of Tenerife and its metropolitan area was under an orange warning, with a maximum forecast of 39 degrees.
The southern region of Andalusia was expecting the mercury to reach 40 degrees amid an orange weather alert, the state meteorological agency (Aemet) said on its website.
Aemet warned that with a red alert, the risk to the population was high.
In Italy, temperatures on the mainland will reach 42 degrees on Thursday while the island of Sardinia is bracing for 47 degrees.