Italy is particularly affected by the heat wave currently affecting southern Europe. It is over 40°C in many cities on the peninsula, including Rome, where residents and tourists experience these scorching temperatures.
Italy is preparing to face its heat peak, expected on Tuesday July 18. The thermometer could rise to 47 degrees in Sardinia, not far from the European record beaten in 2021 by Sicily, with 48.8 ° C. There capital, Rome, is not spared by these trying temperatures: the 2,500 fountains where you can drink, spray yourself, cool off, have been very busy in recent days. “It’s terrible, me, I can’t stand this heat, I really can’t take it anymore, breathes Giovanna, who has come to fill her water bottle. We are already counting the days until Christmas!“.
>> MAP. What are the previous heat records near you?
For three days, calls to 118, the emergency number, have already increased by 15% according to Carlo Piccolo, doctor in charge of the 118 rescue center in Rome. He recalls the fundamentals like “absolutely avoid going out during the hottest hours, drink liquids and especially water more than usual“. The doctor assures that “these are small things, but extremely important to avoid negative consequences“.
Tourists invest in shops and museums
The town hall has installed trees three to four meters high in front of the bus stops to allow the Romans, as well as tourists, to wait in the shade. The latter are also rarer outside. Sarah, from Angers, turns to museums rather than the Colosseum: “It’s fine, we try not to get out in the sun, in the middle of the sun, we go to the shops a lot to keep cool. We chose the right week to come: it’s true that 42 degrees is going to be very complicated, but we’re on vacation, we’ll deal with it!“, she philosophizes.
With 42°C, meteorologists believe that this is indeed a climate change. “These heat waves have an explanation: the frequent and periodic invasion during the summer period of hot subtropical air coming from North Africaexplains Francesco Scarponi, of Civil Protection. It’s a change from the usual currents in this season which were more conditioned by the Azores anticyclone”he adds.
Today, subtropical heat waves are invading the Mediterranean, athen there is only one solution for Giulio, a Sardinian on vacation in Rome. “Only the sea can refresh us, and for that we are lucky, but it’s been 15 days since it’s been over 40 degrees in Sardinia, says the islander. We didn’t expect these temperatures, but hey, that’s how it is!“
Temperatures remain high at night, so doctors currently advise sleeping with air conditioning on.
Rome in the middle of a heat wave: the report by Bruce de Galzain