The heat in southeast Europe is not over for the time being. For example, it can reach 45 degrees in the interior of Greece today. And although heat waves are not strange to the Greeks, this sustained heat is even special to them. Prime Minister Mitsotakis now calls the heat wave the worst since 1987, Greek meteorologists had predicted last week that it would come to this.
“It‘s really very hot,” says Correspondent Conny Keessen, who has been living in Greece for 27 years. “I’ve never experienced this here before.”
According to Keessen, the current heat is somewhat comparable to the summer of 2007, when three heat waves also reached temperatures of at least 40 degrees. But today‘s heat wave lasts relatively long, she says. “Last week it was 40 degrees, in some areas it got even warmer. And, according to meteorologists, the heat lasts for at least another week.”
Other South-East European countries, such as Turkey and Southern Italy, are also experiment with a heatwave:
According to Greek media, which pay a lot of attention to tropical weather, the height of the heat wave is expected today. The newspaper Efsyn speaks of “historical heat”, the Greek edition of the Huffington Post calls it “ruthless”.
Since Friday, an emergency plan has been in force and civil protection and emergency services are in utmost state of preparedness. “For people without air conditioning, there are refrigerated rooms all over the country,” says correspondent Keessen. In addition, private sector workers are advised to lay down their work between noon and 4 pm.
A/C minimum at 26 degrees
Greeks are also called upon not to use too much power and set the air conditioning no lower than 26 degrees. “There are concerns that the power grid gets overloaded from about 1 p.m., especially today. Prime Minister Mitsotakis had crisis talks about this morning.”
Because of the heat, over a hundred forest fires broke out in Greece this weekend. On the Peloponnese and on the Greek holiday island of Rhodes, the size of fires was large. In some parts of Rhodes, the power went out from the fire yesterday. Several villages also had to be cleared as a precaution.
The fires on the island are now partly under control, but there are still fireplaces that flare up. Experts speak of an ecological disaster, says Keessen.
Most fires Turkey under control
In Turkey, too, fierce forest fires have been raging in recent days, including the tourist coastal towns of Bodrum and Alanya. This morning, a government spokesman announced that out of 129 fires in 35 provinces, 122 are now under control.
At Bodrum, Marmaris and Manavgat on the south coast, however, the fires are still dangerous and many people need to be evacuated, including by sea.
Correspondent Mitra Nazar is in the disaster area. She made this report from Marmaris on Friday:
The fires in Turkey have so far cost at least eight people. Thousands of people in the south and west of the country had to leave their homes. According to official data, almost 95,000 hectares of forest have already been laid in ash this year.
Mopping with tap open
In southern Italy too, wildfires are causing problems. At least five injured in Pescara and tourists had to be evacuated. According to Mayor Carlo Masci, the fires in the coastal town were under control last night, but the nature reserve in the city where the fire broke out was completely destroyed. “When you see that, you have to cry.”
It still burns in other places in Italy, says correspondent Heleen D’Haens. “Especially in the south, the heat extinguishing makes it very difficult. If you have extinguished one fire, the other, so to speak, emerged again because of the hot air. It‘s a little mopping with the tap open.”
That heat has been going on for several days in southern Italy and will last for the time being. “It’s more hot in Italy, of course,” says D‘Haens. “Temperatures far above 30 degrees are used to here. But those outliers above 40 degrees are really exceptional. Last weekend, for example, it became 45 degrees in Sicily. That’s special even there.”