Europe heatwave latest news: Rome shatters temperature record as Switzerland, Spain and Greece battle fires

Huge wildfire rages on La Palma forcing thousands to evacuate

For free real time breaking news alerts sent straight to your inbox sign up to our breaking news emails

Sign up to our free breaking news emails

Temperature records have been shattered in Rome and Catalonia, provisional data suggests, as southern Europe is gripped by extreme heat and wildfires.

Britain’s Foreign Office has updated its travel advice for Spain and Greece, with holidaymakers urged to sign up for emergency alerts and warned of travel disruption as temperatures soar.

Thousands have been evacuated in recent days, as firefighters continue to battle wildfires near Athens, in the Canary Islands and on a Switzerland mountainside.

Despite these devastating impacts, temperatures are forecast to climb further later this week and into the weekend, in conditions mirrored around the world as millions of people in the US, Asia and Africa also contend with extreme heat caused by the fossil-fuel-driven climate crisis.

Meteorologists predict that temperatures this week may surpass Europe’s current record of 48.8C, set in Sicily in August 2021, raising fears of a repetition of last year’s heat deaths, which saw an estimated 61,000 fatalities in Europe alone.

The EU’s emergency response coordination centre issued red alerts for high temperatures for most of Italy, northeastern Spain, Croatia, Serbia, southern Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Montenegro.

Key Points

Show latest update


Families unable to cancel summer holidays despite extreme heat warnings and wildfires

Families face having to cancel their summer holidays to Spain and Greece with no compensation, despite the exceptional heatwave subjecting swathes of Europe to extreme temperatures and wildfires.

While the Foreign Office has issued warnings over scorching temperatures in both Spain and Greece, as wildfires rage on La Palma and near Athens, the UK government has so far stopped short of issuing “don’t travel” advice.

As a result, there is no automatic right for families to curtail, cancel or change planned trips, and holiday companies and airlines contacted by The Independent say normal terms and conditions will apply.

More from Simon Calder and Andy Gregory here.

Alisha Rahaman Sarkar19 July 2023 05:47


Rise in hospitalisations due to heat-related illness in Italy

There has been a sharp rise in the number of people seeking emergency care for heat-related illness as a severe heatwave continues to sweep Europe.

Hospitals reported a 20-25 per cent increase in the number of people at emergency units with complaints of dehydration or other illnesses caused by heat as temperatures in Rome hit 41.86C.

The Cardarelli hospital in Naples said 231 patients had accessed emergency care there within the last 24 hours, The Guardian reported.

While most patients were elderly, people of all ages, including tourists, have been seeking care.“We are experiencing an extremely delicate moment,” Antonio d’Amore, the hospital’s director-general told the daily.

Two per cent of the people admitted on Monday were in serious condition and 38 per cent in moderately critical condition, the director-general added.

Alisha Rahaman Sarkar19 July 2023 05:45


Sicily crosses 46C as temperatures forecast to soar

Sicily recorded 46.3C yesterday as the rest of southern Europe struggled with a severe heatwave, according to the World Meteorological Organization.

The Spanish state meteorological service warned of temperatures between 42C and 44C and issued top-level red alerts for some interior parts of the country and the Balearic Islands.

Italy’s national meteorological service also issued red alerts for extreme heat in southern Italy, Sicily and Sardinia, with temperatures well above 40C.

Parts of the Balkans are also under red alert.

The heat is forecast to intensify by the middle of the week in parts of the Mediterranean, including Greece and Turkey.

In Spain, the town of Figueres in Catalonia recorded 45.3C yesterday.

Alisha Rahaman Sarkar19 July 2023 05:15


How long is the heatwave in Europe expected to last?

Europe is set to continue to bake under extreme heat for weeks as global temperatures soar towards alarming highs with records expected to be broken.

Another anticyclone dubbed “Charon”, who in Greek mythology was the ferryman of the dead, advanced into the Mediterranean region from North Africa on Sunday and could soon lift temperatures well above 45C in parts of Italy, Spain and Greece.

The unrelenting heatwave has shown no sign of abating on Tuesday, with Italy bracing for its highest-ever temperature as Sardinia and Sicily have been forecast to reach 48C. Meanwhile, 20 out of the country’s 27 main cities have been issued with red warning alerts – signalling a possible health threat for anyone exposed to the heat – with the number expected to rise to 23 on Wednesday.

The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) has forecast the heatwave should intensify by mid-week, with a spokeswoman telling The Independent the “above normal temperatures” of the past week are expected to continue over the next week.

Alisha Rahaman Sarkar19 July 2023 04:45


Arizona driver claims extreme heat melted her car light

Sierra Ramos posted a TikTok on Monday showing her tail light had apparently liquefied in the summer heat.

“Guys, the light is melting,” she says in the viral clip which has racked up more than 260,000 views in 24 hours.

“Crazy it was 131 degrees outside,” Ms Ramos added in a caption.

Matt Drake19 July 2023 04:15


Expert warns of heart attack risk as heatwaves intensify

Expert warns of heart attack risk as heatwaves intensify due to climate change

Alisha Rahaman Sarkar19 July 2023 03:53


Mallorca issues ‘extreme risk’ warning as holiday companies insist normal terms apply for cancellations

As the build-up to the peak getaway weekend gets under way, holidaymakers heading for the favourite Spanish island destination, Mallorca, face “extreme risk”.

Spain’s state meteorological office, Aemet, is warning temperatures in the north, northeast and centre could reach up to 43C. The area includes popular resorts such as Alcudia and Port de Pollenca.

The official rating is “extreme risk” between 11am and 8pm local time today.

The Majorca Daily Bulletin reports that overnight highs above 36C have been recorded, including in the marina resort of Puerto Soller, with nighttime humidity that can reach 100 per cent.

The Foreign Office has issued warnings of extreme temperatures for both Spain and Greece, where wildfires have been raging.

Matt Drake19 July 2023 03:40


Heatwaves set records, trigger health warnings in US and Europe

Heatwaves intensified across southern and eastern Europe, Asia, and much of the United States on Tuesday as the World Meteorological Organisation warned of an increased risk of deaths due to the extreme weather.

Across the United States, Americans grappled with a medley of extreme weather, from blazing heat to wildfire smoke-choked air and flood warnings, with a tropical storm headed for the Pacific island state of Hawaii on Tuesday afternoon.

The southwestern city of Phoenix, Arizona, on Tuesday exceeded 110 degrees Fahrenheit (43 Celsius) for the 19th day in a row, breaking its all-time record of 18 straight days over 110.

Matt Drake19 July 2023 02:40


Forget Cerberus – these heatwaves will soon be Britain’s new normal

Europe braces for temperatures touching 49C. Fires rage in the forests of Spain. More than a dozen cities across Italy are put on red heat alert. The Acropolis is closed to tourists as holidaymakers buckle in the midday sun.

This year has also seen the hottest June on record in the UK, with an average temperature of 15.8C during the month. And, just last year, the temperature in the UK crossed 40C for the first time ever.

Matt Drake19 July 2023 01:40


Wildfires in Greece close highways and threaten an oil refinery, as the EU sends firefighting planes

Fast-moving wildfires swept across hills in the searing heat outside the Greek capital on Tuesday, forcing authorities to close highways to help protect an oil refinery. Water-dropping airplanes and helicopters flew low though a blanket of smoke tinted orange by the sunset to try and contain two wildfires to the west of Athens before nightfall. The European Union pledged additional assistance, while forecasts indicated more extreme heat was on the way. Italy and France were each sending two firefighting planes to help Greece cope. The planes and their teams are part of an EU civil protection mechanism, and they will join some 30 Romanian firefighters already stationed in Greece as part of a seasonal EU fire program, European officials said Tuesday.

Matt Drake19 July 2023 00:40

Recommended For You