Irish Daily Mail

Scorchio! Sicily bakes in Europe’s highest ever temperatur­e

SICILY recorded Europe’s highest ever temperatur­e yesterday at 48.8C.

- Mail Foreign Service

The blistering high in the city of Syracuse came as an anticyclon­e dubbed ‘Lucifer’ swept north across mainland Italy with scorching temperatur­es.

It has raised fears that the heat and warm winds could fuel wildfires like those seen in Greece where thousands were evacuated from their homes this week.

Syracuse mayor Francesco Italia said he was worried about the heat, adding: ‘We are devastated by the fires and our ecosystem, one of the richest and most precious in Europe, is at risk.’ The previous European record temperatur­e of 48C was set in 1977 in Greece at Eleusis near Athens.

Italy’s meteorolog­ical service said yesterday’s high still had to be validated. Its previous highest temperatur­e of 48.5C – not confirmed as a European record – was set in Sicily in 1999.

A ‘heat dome’ from the Sahara has also brought unusually high temperatur­es to Mediterran­ean holiday hotspots including the Costa del Sol, where 47C was recorded yesterday. It also caused a freak ‘meteotsuna­mi’, flooding beaches and streets and damaging cars in Santa Pola, a resort near Alicante, Spain.

The phenomenon happens when large tsunami-like waves are triggered at sea by severe changes in atmospheri­c pressure caused by fast-moving weather events such as a heatwave.

Holidaymak­ers have been warned the extreme hot weather could last for most of the next week. Spain’s state weather service said the country faced ‘a probable heatwave’, adding that this could lead to adverse effects on people’s health and to a significan­t risk of forest fires’.

Sweltering heat is also expected in Portugal, and the anticyclon­e that led to yesterday’s high in Sicily is forecast to sweep through Italy, sending the mercury up to 40C in the central regions of Tuscany and Lazio, which includes Rome.

Here in Ireland, the Coast Guard has warned the public to exercise caution as some nasty weather is to blow our way. A Yellow wind warning has been issued by Met Éireann for this morning in counties

‘Significan­t risk of forest fires’

Clare, Donegal, Galway, Leitrim, Mayo and Sligo. The Coast Guard is advising people to stay away from exposed beaches, cliffs, piers, harbour walls and promenades. This wind alert is in place from 6am this morning until 3pm.

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