BBC Weather: Temperature red warnings grip Europe as heat spike reaches near 50C
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Syracuse, in Italy, saw temperatures reach 48.8C yesterday. If the readings are approved – it will beat the current European record of 48C recorded in Athens, Greece, in 1977, as set out by the World Meteorological Organisation.The Met Office said yesterday: “Today has provisionally seen the highest temperature ever recorded in Italy.
“SIAS (Sicily’s Agrometeorological Information System) have confirmed that Siracusa in Sicily reached 48.8C earlier this afternoon and if verified by the World Meteorological Organisation it will become a new European temperature record.”
The sweltering temperatures have caused widespread devastation across Southern Europe, with major fires seen in Greece, Turkey, and Italy.
Since July 28, at least 81 people and countless animals have died in more than 200 wildfires.
Experts believe that extreme weather is driven by climate change – and warn that events like these are likely to become more frequent.
In a statement issued in response to the high temperatures in Sicily, Met Office scientist Professor Peter Stott said: “We can’t say exactly when it is likely to happen, but Europe will need to prepare for the eventuality of further records being broken with temperatures above 50C being possible in Europe in future, most likely close to the Mediterranean where the influence of hot air from North Africa is strongest.”
The extreme heatwave which may have registered Europe’s hottest ever temperature is being caused by an anticyclone nicknamed ‘Lucifer’.
An anticyclone is an area of high atmospheric pressure where the air is sinking.
Clouds tend not to form during an anticyclone because the air is descending, bringing hotter temperatures to the earth’s surface.
Is the heatwave heading for the UK?
The next European country to be hit with sweltering temperatures will be Spain, as the weather system moves in, according to BBC Weather.
Temperatures could reach up to 48C, experts have predicted, smashing the former national record.
However, at present, it is not expected the anticyclone will come to the UK in the coming days.
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Met Office spokesman Graham Madge said: “Do not expect to see heatwave conditions, but dry, sunny spells for many.
“August has essentially been a case of mixed fortune with some areas seeing drier weather than usual, while others have virtually had a whole month of rainfall in just 10 days.
“We’re not expecting to see record-breaking weather, as there have certainly been wetter Augusts in the past but many areas have faced a very wet and intense period of rain.”
Tomorrow much of the UK is expected to be bright and dry, with parts of the north and west being hit by showers and low-level wind, according to the Met Office.
Saturday will be mostly cloudy in the south with outbreaks of rain and drizzle, whereas there will be sunny spells across the north and Scotland.
The weather should clear up at the end of the weekend, although rather windy across much of the UK.
The Met Office long-range forecast reads: “Into late August, changeable conditions look likely to continue in the north with showers or outbreaks of rain at times.
“Towards the southwest higher pressure is expected to be more of an influence, allowing for more settled and drier conditions.
“Temperatures are likely to be around average for the time of the year, although there is a chance of some warmer weather in the south if winds turn to an easterly direction.
“This may also bring the chance of intermittent heavy rain and thundery showers.”
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