(ORDO NEWS) — A heatwave that has persisted for most of this week across the Mediterranean has caused temperatures in Syracuse, located on the island of Sicily, Italy, to hit 48.8 degrees Celsius on Wednesday. This is the highest temperature ever recorded in Europe.
A new round of brutal heat waves hit the eastern Mediterranean on Sunday and gradually shifted westward throughout the week, bringing record heat not only to southern Europe, but from the eastern Middle East to northern Africa.
The current all-time high for Europe was recorded in Athens, Greece on July 10, 1977, when the thermometer rose to 48.0 C.
On Wednesday, Rome recorded a daytime temperature of 32.8 C, and on Thursday 36.1 C.
Typical high temperatures in central and southern Italy in mid-August are 29-32 C.
Firefighters continue to fight wildfires in Sicily, where temperatures hit a record high of 48.8C (119.8F) in Europe on Wednesday, August 11.
In Italy, the high-pressure area that caused this heatwave was nicknamed Lucifer. Italy’s health ministry issued a red warning for extreme heat in several regions of the country on Friday.
On the other side of the Mediterranean in the African country of Tunisia, several new records have been set.
On Tuesday, temperatures in the Tunisian capital rose to 49 C, setting a new high temperature record. This broke the previous record of 46.7 C, which was set in 1982.
In Bizerte and Beja in northern Tunisia, temperatures also reached 49 C on Tuesday, setting new records for these cities.
Further south, in the city of Kairouan, Tunisia, temperatures climbed to 50.3 C on Wednesday, the highest reliably recorded temperature in the country, breaking the previous record of 50.1 C set in Al Burmah on July 26, 2005.
Grid congestion occurred in parts of the country on Tuesday as residents stayed home and turned on air conditioners to cope with the heat, resulting in power outages.
Lucifer is predicted to continue drifting westward for the rest of the week, spreading the sultry heat to the Iberian Peninsula in southwestern Europe.
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