Tuesday marks the longest day of the year, known as the summer solstice, and with it, Italy’s third and hottest heatwave this year has arrived.
As of June 21st, Italy’s health authorities have put 16 cities on red or amber alert as meteorologists warn of “unusually” high temperatures for this time of year.
Cities on the highest red alert over the coming days include Turin, Bolzano and Bologna, according to the latest official forecasts.
Red warnings indicate emergency conditions with possible negative effects on everyone’s health, while amber warns the heat may pose a health risk, particularly to the elderly, children and those with chronic illnesses.
The heat comes as Italy’s third and harshest heatwave of this year sweeps in from northern Africa, pushing temperatures up to 43C-44C in some areas, reports weather site IlMeteo.it.
High temperatures are expected to last for the next ten days, with peaks of 43C in Puglia, 37-38C in Bologna and Ferrara in Emilia Romagna, 41-42C in Caltanissetta in Sicily and Oristano in Sardinia, 38C in Florence and 40C in Cosenza, Calabria.
These mark potential new record temperatures for the month of June, last broken in the sweltering summer of 2003.
Arriva il terzo e durissimo anticiclone africano dell'Estate 2022.
Da oggi, una settimana tra le più calde di sempre per il mese di giugno e in assoluto della stagione estiva con punte di 38°C in Valpadana e 40/43° in Puglia, Sardegna e Sicilia.#ANSA https://t.co/Zny2QGBp2g
— Agenzia ANSA (@Agenzia_Ansa) June 20, 2022
Bologna’s high that year was 34C, as was the case for Milan and several cities in Veneto and Emilia Romagna, according to news agency Ansa.
Night-time temperatures are expected to stay high, not falling below 20C for many Italian cities.
“Heatwaves occur when there are very high temperatures for several consecutive days, often associated with high humidity, strong sunlight and lack of ventilation. These climatic conditions can pose a health risk to the population,” states Italy’s health ministry on its information page.
“The more prolonged the heatwave, the greater the expected negative effects on health,” it added.
This latest scorching weather has followed a period of high heat, beginning with Italy’s first heatwave of the year in mid-May.
Official Italian government advice for people in areas facing the hottest temperatures include avoiding particularly busy areas, especially for very young children and the elderly.
Public places such as parks and gardens during the cooler hours of the day are recommended, while heading to crowded places is discouraged.
Strenuous activity is not advised during the hottest times of the day, which are instead best spent “in the coolest room in the house, bathing often with cool water”.