A heat wave known as Cerberus has southern Europe, and it's heading to get stormier

July 14, 2023: An intense and long term of heat is sweeping across Europe, with meteorologists alerting temperatures in Italy could soon reach 48.8 degrees Celsius the most high temperature recorded in European history.

An anticyclone known as Cerberus, named after the three-headed monster that features in Dante’s Inferno, is expected to send temperatures above 40 grades Celsius in parts of Spain, France, Croatia, and Turkey in the coming days.

In Italy, temperatures could soon reach as high as 48 degrees Celsius on the islands of Sardinia and Sicily. A red alert warning has been issued for ten cities nationwide, including Rome, Florence, and Bologna.

The hottest temperature believed to have ever been recorded in Europe was 48.8 degrees near the ancient city of Syracuse on the coast of Sicily in August 2021. Scientists at the European Space Agency said that the record could be hurt again in the coming days.

Meanwhile, the Italian Meteorological Society (SMI) said it was impossible to forecast whether Europe’s temperature record would soon be equaled or surpassed.

The SMI did warn, however, that “the wide-scale meteorological configuration is quite comparable to the one that brought the exceptional value of 48.8 °C in Sicily on August 11, 2021,” and the Cerberus heatwave is expected to intensify in southern Italy in the coming days.

Researchers say global heating is increasing the odds of heatwaves such as the one currently sizzling in European countries.

It comes soon after the planet registered its hottest day since records began for the third time in just four days.

Climate scientists are deeply concerned about recent global heat records, highlighting the pressing need to slash greenhouse gas emissions fueling the climate emergency.

“Heat puts pressure on all of society and has cascading risks,” said Chloe Brimicombe, a climate researcher at Austria’s University of Graz.

“This includes power grids and health service under pressure, trains running slower or roads melting in a few regions, a potential decrease in crop yields, livestock health problems, and retail outputs. The most vulnerable in society are those who are multiple inequitably impacted.”

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