Worst Heatwave in Decades Broils Greece, Brings Danger Alert

Αssociated Press

A youth jumps in the sea from a rock at Varkiza village, a few miles southwest of Athens, on Thursday, July 29, 2021. One of the most severe heat waves recorded since 1980s scorched southeast Europe on Thursday, sending residents flocking to the coast, public fountains and air-conditioned locations to find some relief, with temperatures rose above 40 C (104 F) in parts of Greece and across much of the region. (AP Photo/Yorgos Karahalis)

ATHENS – Temperatures across Greece are expected to range from 104-111.2 degrees Fahrenheit (40-44 Celsius) as the country is already sizzling in the summer's second heatwave that could last nine to 10 days.

People were seen around Athens, where tourists returned during the COVID-19 pandemic, trying to cool off in the shade or splashing water on themselves, the beaches mostly full.

There are almost no municipal swimming pools, including for children, who are left to bake in their homes while those with transportation or who can afford it can reach public beaches, making of them over by private interests charging people to use equipment on the premises.

The National Meteorological Service issued an emergency bulletin and said the heat wave could last through Aug. 6 with constant sunshine, and humidity adding to the misery of those without air conditioning.

That would make it the worst since 700-1000 people died from a 1987 heat attack settled over the country that was so bad that The New York Times reported, “The gravediggers have been ordered to work nights on overtime. The hospitals have sent out to the fish market for orders of ice to chill the bodies. The Athens summer, that is to say, has been injected with the grisly, and the macabre.”

“The maximum temperatures in the next three days will range on the mainland from around 42-44 Celsius (107.6-111.2 Fahrenheit) while on islands and coastal areas it will be 2-3 Celius lower, the weather service said.

But even at night, the temperatures will range around 28 degrees Celsius (82.4 Fahrenheit) making it very uncomfortable to sleep and with nearly 100,000 refugees and migrants in detention centers and camps on islands and the mainland.

Cooling shelters were set up in the Greek capital, but access to the air-conditioned public spaces was limited by pandemic restrictions, noted The Associated Press in a report.

“The ongoing heat wave is a dangerous weather phenomenon, as it will last until the end of next week with a small temperature range between maximum and minimum levels,” said the weather center Director Theodoris Kolydas.