Temperatures could reach at 44 degrees Celsius in mainland Greece in the coming days, the National Meteorological Service (EMY) has warned in an emergency bulletin.
The weather service said that while heat wave is expected to peak at the beginning of next week, the extremely high temperatures will continue until Friday, August 6, making it one of the most severe recorded heat waves since the mid-1980s.
“The maximum temperatures in the next three days will range on the mainland from around 42 to 44C while on islands and coastal areas it will be 2 to 3C lower,” the EMY said.
Night-time temperatures of at least 28C can be expected in most areas.
On Thursday, the maximum temperature in most places will reach 39C, with some mainland areas experiencing 42-43C, the Ionian Islands 39-40C and the eastern Aegean 39-41C.
Temperatures will be lower in the Cyclades and in Northern Crete due to the prevailing northern winds of force 4-6.
Over the weekend and on Monday the temperature will rise further and will reach 42-43C and, in some places, 44C, on the mainland.
On Thursday, cooling shelters were set up in Athens, but access to the air-conditioned public spaces was limited by pandemic restrictions.
“The ongoing heat wave is a dangerous weather phenomenon, as it will last until the end of next week with a small temperature range between maximum and minimum levels,” said EMY director Theodoris Kolydas.
Authorities in Serbia, Bulgaria and other affected countries advised people to avoid exposure to direct sunlight in midday hours.
Wildfires in Greece threatened homes for a third successive day, with a blaze reported Thursday outside the western city of Patras.