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People and pets seek shade and cool as Europe sizzles under a heat wave

Tourists cool off in a public fountain at the Sforzesco Castle, in Milan, Italy, on Saturday. Temperatures reached up to 42 degrees Celsius in some parts of the country, amid a heat wave that continues to grip southern Europe.
Luca Bruno
Tourists cool off in a public fountain at the Sforzesco Castle, in Milan, Italy, on Saturday. Temperatures reached up to 42 degrees Celsius in some parts of the country, amid a heat wave that continues to grip southern Europe.

ROME — Scorching temperatures across Europe forced the closure of the Acropolis in Athens for a second day as officials warned Saturday of even hotter weather next week, when the mercury is forecast to top 40 degrees Celsius (104 degrees Fahrenheit) in several popular Mediterranean tourist destinations.

In cities, those venturing out at all drenched themselves in fountains while others sought out pools, the sea or shade in hopes of relief from the heat wave caused by Cerberus. The high-pressure anticyclone coming from the south was named after the three-headed dog in ancient Greek mythology who guarded the gates to the underworld.

Fifteen cities in Italy, most of them in the country's center and south, were under heat advisories signaling a high level of risk for older adults, the infirm, infants and other vulnerable people. Temperatures remained in the mid-30s C (mid-90s F) across much of the Italian peninsula Saturday but were expected to reach between 38 C (100.4 F) and 40 C (104 C) in Sardinia, Sicily and Puglia.

The cities under alerts included the high-tourism destinations of Bologna, Florence and Rome. The capital hit a high of 35 C (95 F) Saturday and was expected to see temperatures as high as 42 C (107.6 F) on Tuesday when other Italian cities could be even hotter.

In Greece's capital, where the temperature was forecast to reach 41 C (105.8 F), officials decided to keep the sun-baked Acropolis monument closed from noon to 5:30 p.m. as they did Friday.

Czech temperatures soared to a new record high for any July 15. The thermometer hit 38.6 Celsius (101.5 F) at Plzen-Bolevec in western Czechia, up from the previous record of 36.8 Celsius for this day set in Podebrady, east of Prague in 2007, the Czech Hydrometeorological Institute said.

Temperatures were milder in Spain's Canary Islands, but a wildfire on the island of La Palma caused a preventive evacuation of some 500 people. Officials warned that shifting winds and the area's rain-parched dry terrain could increase the number of evacuees.

In Turkey, coastal cities in the south and southwest reached the high 30s (about 97-102 F) and low 40s (104-109 F). The tourism hot spot of Antalya saw a high of 44 C (111.2 F).

In the northwestern cities of Edirne, Kırklareli and Tekirdag, 48 people were taken to emergency rooms with symptoms of heat stroke in the past two days, the state-run Anadolu Agency reported.

The heat wave also was taking its toll on water levels in Istanbul, Turkey's largest city. The main water supply at the Omerli Dam reservoir, already at 41% capacity due to low rainfall, was losing 17,000 tons of water an hour during the early afternoon, Levent Kurnaz of Bosphorus University's Center for Climate Change and Policy Studies told local media.

European countries father north also sweltered on Saturday. Authorities in Poland warned older adults in particular to stay indoors or in the shade and well-hydrated as temperatures reached 35 C (95 F).

In downtown Warsaw, and in other cities, makeshift hose fountains were arranged to let people and their pets cool off. Police issued warnings about not leaving children or pets unattended inside cars.

And in Israel, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu appealed on people to drink water and act safely in the scorching summer after he was rushed to hospital on Saturday for dehydration following a day spent in the sun without a hat and without water.

To cool off their four-legged friends, some Italian dog owners took their pets to a beach near Rome especially equipped for canines. Known as "Baubeach," or Woofbeach in English, the area can welcome up to 150 dogs per day. They're allowed to roam on the beach unleashed.

"The sea breeze, as you can feel, is something very pleasant that oxygenates and also gives this feeling of almost natural nebulization. There, this is pleasant for both people and dogs," Baubeach owner Patrizia Daffina said.

Carlo Cerese took his dog there Friday. "Here he is very active all day," he said. "Actually when he gets home he takes a good nap. I think that here at least he doesn't suffer from the heat."

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The Associated Press
[Copyright 2024 NPR]
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