Italy hit by 2018’s first heatwave with 12 cities on ‘red alert’

UPDATED: Italy is currently in the grip of the first extended heatwave of summer, with the government placing 12 cities on 'red alert' for heat-related health risks on Friday.

Italy hit by 2018's first heatwave with 12 cities on 'red alert'
A man refreshes himself in a Turin fountain during last year's summer heat. Photo: Marco Bertorello/AFP

The Ministry of Health's red alert is the highest possible level, indicating “high risk conditions that persist for three or more consecutive days”. 

The affected cities are: Bologna, Bolzano, Brescia, Florence, Genoa, Milan, Perugia, Rieti, Turin, Trieste, Venice and Verona.

In all those areas, the red alert will remain in place until at least Sunday.

Unusually, the weather is generally milder in the south, with storms and showers were forecast across the southern coastal regions on Friday.

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“This is the first real wave of high intensity heat extended across most of the country in 2018, which will last for the whole week, also affecting the southern regions,” the ministry said.

Many other cities in the country were placed on an orange or level 2 alert. The difference between the two is that while both mean the heat poses a risk to health, in 'level 3' conditions, even healthy and active members of the population are likely to be affected, while during an orange alert, it is predominantly vulnerable groups such as children and the elderly who are at risk.

The government has set up a dedicated helpline, reachable by dialling 1500 in Italy, to offer advice on coping with the hot weather as well as information on healthcare services.

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