On Thursday, July 20, 2023, people walk next to a smoke machine to cool off in the Monastiraki district of Athens.
Experts say the heatwave hitting Greece is likely to be the longest the country has ever experienced as the country battles wildfires and restricts access to its popular tourist spots.
Visiting times for the Acropolis and other archaeological sites have been changed due to rising temperatures. At some locations, employees are going on strike to protest the working conditions.
“We will probably experience a heat wave for 15 to 16 days, which has never happened in our country,” the research director of the National Observatory of Athens, Kostas Lagouvardos, told CNN.
He told CNN the streak could go beyond those days, but right now it’s “hard to predict.”
The longest continuous heatwave Greece has faced lasted 12 days in July 1987, Lagouvardos said.
Lagouvardos said temperatures in Athens this summer could potentially break the city’s all-time record, set in June 2007 when Athens registered 44.8 degrees Celsius (112.64 degrees Fahrenheit).
Authorities have been battling wildfires in several areas including the island of Rhodes.
Residents and tourists in four areas of the island have been ordered to evacuate due to the fire, the Greek Fire Brigade said.
Socrates Baltagiannis/Picture Alliance/Getty Images
A tourist cools off with ice cubes at the entrance to the Acropolis in central Athens.
Temperatures have been severe across much of the Northern Hemisphere, and Europe has seen dramatic shifts from one form of extreme weather to another.
A hailstorm the size of a tennis ball fell overnight in the northern Veneto region of Italy, injuring at least 110 people. The emergency services responded to more than 500 calls for help due to property damage and personal injury, said the Veneto regional civil protection.
The country also experienced record-breaking heat, with the capital Rome hitting a new high of 41 degrees Celsius on Tuesday. At the beginning of the year, the country was hit by devastating floods.
Severe storms in the Balkans claimed several lives on Wednesday, CNN affiliate N1 reported on Thursday.
Scientists warn that the extreme weather may only be a preview of what’s to come as the planet warms.
“Weather extremes will continue to increase and our weather patterns could change in ways that we cannot yet predict,” Peter Stott, climate attribution researcher at the UK Met Office, told CNN.