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Tourists warned as Cerberus heatwave hits parts of Europe and North Africa

Tourists have been warned to take care in the extreme heat after a man died as temperatures topped 40C across parts of southern Europe and north-west Africa.

The Cerberus heatwave, named by the Italian Meteorological Society after the three-headed monster that features in Dante’s inferno, has taken hold across many popular British family holiday hotspots in the Mediterranean.

A 44-year-old man, who  was painting a zebra crossing on Tuesday in 40C heat in the northern town of Lodi, lost consciousness and later died in hospital, local media reported.

An Abta spokesman said: “High temperatures around our favourite holiday hotspots are not uncommon at this time of year and it is always important that you take sensible precautions, particularly making sure that you and your family drink plenty of bottled water as it is extremely easy to become dehydrated, and always use plenty of high factor sun cream.

“Follow the example of local people and leave the beach at midday and early afternoon when the sun is at its most powerful, to have a long, leisurely alfresco lunch in the shade.

“Holidaymakers have the option of cooling off in the pool or sea and don’t forget to put on the air conditioning or turn on the fan at night to ensure you have a cool, restful sleep.”

Rebekah Sherwin, an expert meteorologist from the Met Office’s global forecasting team, said the “heatwave conditions already occurring across much of southern Europe, northwest Africa and the Middle East are expected to continue through the coming week”.

She added: “Peak temperatures, which are around 10 to 15C higher than average, could reach the mid-40s degrees Celsius in parts of southern Europe and up to 50°C in parts of North Africa.

“Higher than average temperatures are also likely at times further north across Europe, but these will be shorter lived and less impactful.”

The high temperatures are being driven by an established high pressure system that is sat across the region, allowing temperatures to build day by day.

Ms Sherwin said that “unusually high” sea surface temperatures are also occurring across the region, with many parts of the Mediterranean seeing surface temperatures as high as 25 to 28C.

She added: “This will exacerbate the effects of the heat over surrounding land areas, as even in coastal regions overnight temperatures are unlikely to drop much below the mid-20s Celsius.

“The southern shift of the jet stream that has pushed the high pressure southwards across this region has also led to low pressure systems being directed into the UK, bringing more unsettled and cooler weather here than we experienced in June when the jet stream was at a more northerly latitude.”

Spain has been sweltering in the unrelenting heatwave and 45C was reached on Monday in the village of Loja, near Granada, at the start of the high temperatures.

Temperatures are also starting to rise in Greece, where up to 44C has been forecast in some parts of the country in the coming days.

Officials banned access to nature reserves and forests to reduce the risk of wildfires, while authorities were opening air-conditioned areas in public buildings for people to shelter from the heat.

Greece’s agriculture ministry issued restrictions on the transportation, and working hours, of animals such as horses and donkeys offering rides in tourist areas during the heatwave.

Working animals will not be allowed to work between noon and 5pm on days where temperatures are between 35C and 39C in the shade, while they will not be allowed to work at any time of the day when temperatures exceed that range.

Source: Evening Standard