Southern Italy sizzles in temperatures up to 45C as heatwave continues

The heatwave is set to ‘peak’ in southern Italian regions on Thursday and Friday, with temperatures remaining around 40C (104F) in many areas.

Southern Italy sizzles in temperatures up to 45C as heatwave continues
The place to be this week if you're in southern Italy. Photo: Oliver Moran/AFP

While the whole country is feeling the heat this week, the south is in for more sizzling temperatures throughout the weekend while things should cool down slightly sooner in the north.

The country has been “divided in two” as hot and cool air currents meet over southern Europe, weather forecasters say.

READ ALSO: How to keep cool like an Ancient Roman in Italy’s summer heat

The hottest regions are Sicily, Calabria and Puglia, where the early summer heatwave is expected to reach its ‘peak’ on Thursday on Friday.

Authorities in Sicily have already reported highs of 44.5C in some inland areas on Wednesday.

High humidity and dusty skies have created stifling conditions across the southern regions as warm currents of air moved in this week from North Africa.

“The cold air mass over Western Europe meets very hot currents over the central Mediterranean, caused by the subtropical anticyclone, which also brings with it the desert dust which is enveloping our peninsula,” meteorologist Giulio Betti told Italian newspaper La Repubblica on Thursday.

READ ALSO: ‘Four to five light meals a day’: Italy’s official advice during a heatwave

Adding to the hot and sticky atmosphere is the so-called ‘Afa‘, or hot-humid air.

Temperatures are less extreme in the north of Italy this week, though thunderstorms are expected in some areas, particularly around the Alps, later on Thursday.

From Saturday, temperatures are expected to drop slightly in the north and centre of Italy, before also falling in the south from Sunday.

In many southern areas, temperatures are set to remain in the low-to-mid 30s in the early part of next week before climbing to 40C again.

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Italy braces for first heatwave of the year with highs of over 30C

Temperatures are set to rise dramatically across Italy this weekend as the country prepares for its first real heatwave of the year, meteorologists said on Friday.

Italy braces for first heatwave of the year with highs of over 30C

People across Italy are preparing to head to the beach this weekend with unseasonably hot weather predicted to last for several days.

The heatwave is caused by an anticyclone named  ‘Hannibal’ sweeping in from Tunisia and Algeria, bringing hot air currents across the Mediterranean and as far north as Denmark and Poland, reports news agency Ansa.

Temperatures are forecast to rise above 32-33°C in parts of the Italian north including Veneto, Trentino Alto Adige, and Emilia Romagna, before the heatwave expands towards the centre and south of the country over the course of the weekend.

The weather is already 8°C above the seasonal average for this time of year, according to Antonio Sanò, founder of the Italian weather site, and temperatures could rise by as much as 10°C.

READ ALSO: From Venice to Mont Blanc, how is the climate crisis affecting Italy?

In a typical year these kinds of highs wouldn’t be seen until July, Sanò said.

The incoming heatwave will be particularly humid as the anticyclone is carrying moisture from the Mediterranean sea, according to IlMeteo.

However, the relative cool of the Mediterranean basin at this time of year will contain the heat and keep the temperatures from rising into the high 30s, as would happen if the same type of weather event occurred in August.

READ ALSO: Nine in 10 Italians ‘want more action on climate crisis’, new study finds

The heatwave will stretch over the weekend and continue into next week, peaking on Tuesday, according to weather reports.

Patchy thunderstorms typical of midsummer weather are anticipated in the Alps and the Po Valley, while the centre-south is set to experience hot and sunny conditions bar some isolated storms in the mountains of Abruzzo on Sunday.