Lydia records whopping temperature in Sardinia
The stifling heatwave that has engulfed Europe is reaching unprecedented levels, with the Italian island of Sardinia recording its hottest day ever.
As temperatures soar above 45C, the streets of the town of Decimomannu are eerily quiet, with shops closed, cafe terraces empty, and the playground deserted.
The Mirror reports the only signs of life are the workmen in bright orange gear, toiling under the scorching sun to repair the roads.
Yesterday, the mercury rose to a scorching 45.2C (113.4F), smashing the previous record of 42.4C. However, in the direct sunlight at 4pm, temperatures reached an astonishing 48C (118.4F).
This heatwave comes just as schools break up for the summer, and families prepare to jet off on their long-awaited holidays, perhaps not expecting such extreme heat.
READ MORE: Europe heatwave holiday cancellations may not get refunded, expert warns [LATEST]
Lydia cools down with an ice cream from vendor Andrea Casti
Mauro Puddu, a 34-year-old psychologist who resides in Decimomannu, has a diagnosis for those venturing outside in this blistering heat. He said: “It’s only workmen and crazy people that are heading to the gym like me. The gym closes at six so I have to go now. Afterwards I will go home and thankfully I have an aircon in my house.”
Gardener Rafaelle Carboni, 43, seeks refuge in a cafe with full-blast air conditioning after finding it impossible to work in the scorching temperatures. Rafaelle explained: “We worked until 2pm then we returned because it was too hot and we could not stay out given the high temperatures.”
Although he is accustomed to Sardinia’s baking heat, he is taken aback by the intensity of the sun. He said: “It is extraordinary, and it is too much. “This is not at all normal. It just isn’t possible to be outside in the open. We are now going to wait for the temperature to drop so we can finish the final hours of work before I can go back home where it is cool.”
While millions of people across Europe heed advice to stay indoors during the hottest hours between noon and 6pm, it’s an entirely different story down by the coast.
Despite temperatures already reaching 45C in the lunchtime sun, Poetto Beach in nearby Cagliari is a popular destination. The scorching sand doesn’t deter people from cooling off in the refreshing, clear blue water.
Giovanni Fenu, 47, who grew up nearby but now resides in Cork, Ireland, explains that many workers come to the beach to take a dip during their lunch breaks. He is thrilled to be soaking up the Sardinian sun, despite the heat. He said: “I personally enjoy it. This is the reason I come down every year. It’s exactly what I miss in Ireland.”
However, not everyone shares the same sentiment about the scorching weather. Jackie Sharpe, an 81-year-old holidaymaker from Chichester, West Sussex, finds the heat challenging, particularly for older individuals.
She suggests seeking cooler activities, like visiting a crypt under a church. She said: “It’s hard for older people, it’s getting a bit too much. This morning I went to a crypt under a church, so that was cool. You’ve got to find things which are cooler to do.”
Caroline and Darren Henman are also on holiday, embracing the baking sun as they embark on a boat trip. Caroline, a 51-year-old personal shopper from Bedfordshire, said: “We’re going home tomorrow, but we haven’t been into Cagliari looking around the town because it is too hot. We’ve been going out but just stopping and drinking a lot.” Darren, a 53-year-old civil engineer, added: “We’ve had to change plans, a little bit less walking. We’re going out on a boat now to get some sea breeze.”
Andrea Casti, a 35-year-old owner of the ice cream shop Casti near the port, acknowledges the heatwave is good for business, albeit not great for his health. He said: “We’ve had to make a lot more ice creams.” As the sun sets, those hoping for a cooler evening in the city are in for disappointment, as temperatures are expected to hover around 36C at 9 pm.
On Monday there was a power cut here for a few hours and local Alberto Rassu, 29, reckons he knows why. He explained: “It was because everyone was running their air conditioning units and it used too much power.”
The heatwave is not limited to Sardinia; other parts of Italy, as well as Spain, are also experiencing scorching temperatures. Hannah Cloke, a climate scientist at the University of Reading, likens the situation to a “giant pizza oven.” She said: ““The bubble of hot air that has inflated over southern Europe has turned Italy and surrounding countries into a giant pizza oven.”
Concerns about climate change are mounting, with the World Meteorological Organization reporting that last month was the hottest June on record globally. WMO chief Petteri Taalas voiced the urgent need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to mitigate the impact of extreme weather events.
He said: “The extreme weather, an increasingly frequent occurrence in our warming climate, is having a major impact on human health, ecosystems, economies, agriculture, energy and water supplies. This underlines the increasing urgency of cutting greenhouse gas emissions as quickly and as deeply as possible.”
As the extreme temperatures persist, wildfires have broken out across the affected regions. Firefighting crews from Poland, Romania, and Slovakia are en route to Greece to assist in the firefighting efforts. Israel has pledged to send two firefighting planes, joining the four already operating outside Athens from Italy and France. While Europe continues to burn, the UK is bracing itself for a deluge of rain this weekend, thanks to a ridge of low pressure and the jet stream.
Medium-term forecasts indicate that up to 60mm of rain could fall on Saturday and Sunday. As millions of British families prepare for holidays in countries experiencing scorching temperatures, the Foreign Office has issued extreme weather warnings for Italy, Spain, and Greece, among others.
Visitors are advised to stay out of the sun whenever possible, wear high-factor sunscreen, seek shade and air-conditioned spaces, stay hydrated, and limit alcohol consumption.
Carrying a hand-held fan and water spray can also provide relief in the blistering conditions. Heat is more intense in cities, so it’s advisable to avoid popular spots, especially during the peak hours of the day. Some tourist attractions may be closed, so it’s important to check before traveling.
Unfortunately, holiday insurance policies do not typically cover cancellations due to extreme temperatures. So, if you decide it’s too risky to travel with young children, the elderly, or anyone with a medical condition, and you wish to cancel your trip, extreme temperatures are not considered a valid reason for reimbursement.
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