In Greece, where all archaeological sites remain closed during the hottest hours, such as the famous Acropolis in Athens, temperatures expected throughout the weekend are expected to exceed 44°C.
In Rhodes, a very touristy place, where a forest fire has been raging for 5 days in the eastern part of the island around Laermon and Lardos, about 2,000 people were evacuated by boat and about 30,000 others were sheltered in gymnasiums, schools or conference centers for the night.
“It’s an unprecedented situation,” Panagiotis Dimelis, head of the Archangelos village council, described on Skai TV.
In the evening, a spokesman for the firefighters, Yannis Artopios, told the TV channel ERT that new evacuation instructions were directed at the seaside resorts of Gennadi and Kiotari. A boat owner explained on Skai TV that he was “ordered by the port authorities to return to Gennadi for further evacuations. There are many people on the beach, more than 500 people”.
When the alarm was given in the early afternoon, many tourists fled the oven on the beach with suitcases and children. Some missed the return flight because of roads cut off by the flames, according to social media posts.
In the interior of the island, the fire reached the village of Laerma, destroying houses and a church, according to TV channel ERT and Greek agency ANA.
“We will probably experience a heat wave of 16-17 days, which has never happened before in our country,” Kostas Lagouvardos, director of research at the Institute for Environmental Research and Sustainable Development at the National Observatory in Athens, told ERT-tv.
“We need absolute vigilance (…) because the difficult times are not over,” Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis warned.
“We are facing another heat wave” and “a possible strengthening of the winds”, which have already fueled several fires around the capital since Monday, he added.
In 24 hours, 46 new fires broke out in the country, according to firefighters.
At sea level, the mercury was 2 to 3°C above normal, the meteorological services announced on Saturday.
– Progress in the USA –
In the US, around 80 million people will experience temperatures of 41°C and above this weekend, the US Meteorological Services (NWS) warned.
They can rise to more than 46°C in Phoenix, Arizona (southwest), which is currently experiencing its longest heat wave on record: on Friday, the mercury exceeded 43°C for the 22nd day in a row.
500 km away, in California, Death Valley and its highest temperatures on the planet attract tourists, and the latter want to take their picture next to a screen showing increasingly extreme temperatures.
Some are waiting for the absolute record on Earth – 56.6°C recorded there in 1913 – which some experts dispute, to be broken.
A 71-year-old man died there earlier this week, and Death Valley National Park rangers suspect “heat played a role” in his death, which would make it the second of the year by the circumstances.
For the rest of July, the heat wave should move toward the center of the United States, on the side of the Rockies and the Great Plains of the Midwest, according to the American Agency for Oceanic and Atmospheric Observation (NOAA).
In Canada, the site of record flooding due to torrential downpours, four people, including two children, have gone missing in the eastern Canadian province of Nova Scotia, according to police.
“Some regions have already received more than 150 mm of rain,” the meteorological services state, specifying that further rainfall “of a tropical nature”, of at least 40 to 100 mm, was expected.
July is on track to break the record for the hottest month ever recorded on Earth, not only for the first time measurements were taken, but also in “hundreds, if not thousands of years,” NASA’s chief climatologist Gavin Schmidt told reporters.
This is not just due to El Niño, the cyclical weather phenomenon that originates in the Pacific Ocean and causes global temperatures to rise, he said.
For this specialist, the extreme temperatures will continue because “we continue to emit greenhouse gases into the atmosphere”.
Compared to the pre-industrial era, the world is experiencing warming close to 1.2°C due to human activity, primarily the use of fossil fuels (coal, oil, gas).