Killer heatwave sweeps across southern Europe

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Killer heatwave sweeps across southern Europe

A heatwave is sweeping across parts of southern Europe and north-west Africa, with potential record-breaking temperatures in the coming days.

Temperatures are expected to surpass 40C (104F) in parts of Spain, France, Greece, Croatia and Turkey.

In Italy, temperatures could reach as high as 48.8C (119.8F). A red alert warning has been issued for 10 cities, including Florence and Rome.

On Tuesday, a man in his forties died after collapsing in northern Italy.

Italian media reported that the 44-year-old worker was painting zebra crossing lines in the town of Lodi, near Milan, before he collapsed from the heat. He was taken to hospital where he later died.

“We are facing an unbearable heatwave,” Italian politician Nicola Fratoianni tweeted.

“Maybe it’s the case that in the hottest hours all the useful precautions are taken to avoid tragedies like the one that happened today in Lodi.”

Several tourists in the country have already collapsed due to heat stroke, including a British man outside the Colosseum in Rome.

Why this summer has been so hot
The Cerberus heatwave – named by the Italian Meteorological Society after the three-headed monster that features in Dante’s inferno – is expected to bring extreme conditions in the next few days.

The Met Office says temperatures will peak on Friday, and BBC Weather says large swathes of southern Europe could see temperatures in the low to mid 40s – and possibly higher.

Europe’s hottest ever temperature of 48.8C (119.8F) was recorded near Syracuse on the Italian island of Sicily in August 2021.

More than 60,000 people died in Europe as a result of the heat last year. The fear is that this heatwave could cause many more deaths this summer.

A heatwave is a period of hot weather where temperatures are higher than is expected for the time of year.

Experts say periods of exceptionally hot weather are becoming more frequent and climate change means it is now normal to experience record-breaking temperatures.

The European Centre for Medium-Range Weather forecasts said that globally, this June was the hottest on record.