Temperatures reached 44°C (111°F) during a heat wave in Spain on July 14, 2023. Alex Camara / Anadolu Agency via Getty Images
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This week and last, Europe has been buffeted from one heat wave to another, and when “heat storms” start being named, you know they must be intense.
Last week, a heat wave named after Cerebus — a three-headed dog from Greek mythology that guards the entrance to Hades — brought scorching temperatures and wildfires to southern and eastern Europe, from Spain to Turkey.
This week, the Charon anticyclone and accompanying heat wave, which also takes its name from Greek mythology — in this case the ferry operator who brought souls across the river to the underworld — will move from north Africa into Europe, bringing temperatures that may break records.
The hottest locations are predicted to be Italy, Greece, Spain and portions of the Balkans, reported The Guardian. Tuesday and Wednesday could bring temperatures as high as 118.4 degrees Fahrenheit on the islands of Sardinia and Sicily. In 2021, the mercury reached 119.8 degrees Fahrenheit in Sicily, a record high for Europe.
Rome is also predicted to see record heat this week.
“We need to prepare for a severe heat storm that, day after day, will blanket the whole country,” warned Italian weather news service Meteo.it on Sunday, as Reuters reported. “In some places ancient heat records will be broken.”
Orazio Schillaci, Italy’s Minister of Health, warned tourists who plan to visit popular Roman ruins to take precautions.
“Going to the Colosseum when it is 43C (109.4F) is not advisable,” Schillaci told Il Messaggero newspaper yesterday, adding that people should remain indoors from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., reported Reuters.
According to authorities, at least 4,000 people were evacuated on the Spanish island of La Palma in the Canary Islands due to a forest fire.
Some tourists have collapsed and suffered from heat stroke, and Greece’s Acropolis has been closed by authorities during the hottest hours of the day, according to the Daily Mail.
“This is not normal. I don’t remember such intense heat, especially at this time of year,” said Federico Bratti, a Lake Garda sunbather, as the Daily Mail reported.
“We’re from Texas and it’s really hot there, we thought we would escape the heat but it’s even hotter here,” said Colman Peavy, on vacation in Rome with his wife Ana, as reported by CBS News.