Italy braces for first summer heatwave with highs of up to 40C

Clare Speak
Clare Speak - [email protected]
Italy braces for first summer heatwave with highs of up to 40C
Tourists shelter from the sun in Rome's Piazza del Popolo. The capital was set to see soaring temperatures this week as Italy's first heatwave of the year arrives. (Photo by Tiziana FABI / AFP)

The Italian health ministry issued alerts for extreme heat in cities including Rome and Perugia this week as the first heatwave of the summer began.


Forecasters said the incoming heatwave, driven by an African anticyclone, was set to push temperatures above 40°C in some parts of Italy by the end of this week.

The health ministry issued a medium-level amber alert for heat in Perugia on Wednesday, June 18th, while a further 14 cities including Rome, Bologna, Florence, Naples and Palermo were placed under a lower-level yellow alert.

READ ALSO: Italy to suffer 'exceptionally hot' temperatures this summer

The amber alert was extended to 11 cities as the heat was set to intensify on Thursday, June 19th: Rome, Ancona, Bologna, Bolzano, Campobasso, Frosinone, Latina, Palermo, Pescara and Rieti. Perugia was placed on the highest-level red alert.

By Friday, eight red alerts were in place for Ancona, Campobasso, Frosinone, Latina, Perugia, Palermo, Rome and Rieti, with most other parts of the country under lower-level amber or yellow alerts.

All parts of southern and central Italy were expected to see soaring temperatures by the end of the week, with highs of around 41°C forecast in parts of Puglia, Sicily and Sardinia.

On Wednesday, the hottest part of the country was Foggia, in Puglia, with highs of 40°C, according to forecasters from Italian weather website The southern provinces of Caltanissetta, Matera, Nuoro, Syracuse and Taranto were all expected to see highs of 38-39°C.

In Rome, temperatures were expected to reach 40°C on Thursday according to Italy's national weather service.

Milan was also under a yellow heat warning from Thursday, with temperatures of around 30°C with high humidity, and night-time temperatures in the city forecast to remain around a sticky 23°C.


Milder conditions were expected in the north-east of the country, where early summer has so far been marked by stormy conditions and cooler than average temperatures.

The highest-level red alert means weather conditions may be harmful to the health of the general population, while medium-level warnings indicate conditions that may pose a risk to the elderly, sick or very young.

READ ALSO: 'Four to five light meals a day': Italy's official advice for surviving the heat

The health ministry recommends avoiding outdoor activity and exposure to the sun in the middle of the day.

Temperatures were expected to begin to fall over the weekend, with rain forecast as the heat breaks in many parts of the country on Sunday.

Above-average temperatures were likely again this summer across Italy and much of Europe, according to the latest mid-range forecasts.



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