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Italy braces for another heatwave with temperatures set to soar

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Italy braces for another heatwave with temperatures set to soar
A man puts his head in the water to cool off at the fountain in Piazza del Popolo in Rome. (Photo by Tiziana FABI / AFP)

Italian meteorologists predict a third heatwave of the summer, as a high pressure system sweeps in from Africa, pushing temperatures in Italy up to 42 degrees.

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Higher temperatures are expected again in Italy this weekend, especially in the central regions, according to weather website Il Meteo.

Between Saturday 19th and Sunday 20th August, an African high pressure weather system will move in and strengthen over the country.

This will see the mercury rise to "extreme" temperatures in what's being described as a "weekend on fire", according to the weather experts.

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In particular, the plains in the north of Italy, areas along the Tyrrhenian sea and the larger islands such as Sardinia are affected.

Higher temperatures are predicted to come from the Algerian and Moroccan coasts, supported by warm air masses, creating that humid and muggy air often referred to in Italian as 'Afa'.

These high humidity levels are reportedly due to the long journey across the Mediterranean sea from the Sahara towards Italy.

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Weather projections show signs of "the most intense heatwaves," according to the experts.

This could manifest itself in melting Alpine glaciers, as 'thermal zero' - the altitude at which temperatures below it are above zero - is predicted to increase to 5000 metres. Forecasters noted that in summer, this usually hovers around 3200-3500 metres.

Highs of up to 40 degrees Celcius are projected for the Po Valley and across the Tyrrhenian, while inland Sardinia could reach 42 degrees.

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The experts have noted sweltering heat is expected in cities such as Florence, Rome, Bolzano, Ferrara, Pavia, Alessandria, Terni and Bologna.

"Until Thursday 17th August, the weather will not undergo any major changes," stated the site's founder, Antonio Sanò.

READ ALSO: Should you reconsider travel to Italy during a heatwave?

"It will mainly be sunny over most of Italy, and only on the Alpine sectors and occasionally on the Apennines could thunderstorms develop, especially in (the northern regions of) Trentino Alto-Adige and Cadore.

"The new turning point will occur from Friday 18th," he confirmed.

Forecasts indicated that these higher temperatures could remain in Italy until August 26th or 27th.

After that, from August 28th to 30th, forecasters have warned of a storm front hitting Europe from the North Atlantic, which could also impact Italy.

The incoming cool currents following intense heat could cause "violent thunderstorms with a high risk of hailstorms," according to the weather report.

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