Europeans seek shade as heatwave grips much of the continent
Despite at least 4,000 people being evacuated in Spain as firefighters struggled to contain wildfires tearing through La Palma, the president of the Canary Islands has warned that some residents are refusing to leave their homes.
President Fernando Clavijo said that at least 13 houses were destroyed as the fire advanced, having already ravaged at least 45 square kilometers of land, as he urged those showing “resistance” to leaving their homes to “be responsible”.
Earlier, some tourists were reportedly sent to the hospital in Athens, Greece as they arrived in droves at the Acropolis even as the authorities closed the monument’s gates between midday and early evening amid a severe heatwave.
Kim Adams, visiting from Scotland told Sky News: “It’s quite difficult today, really very hot”.
Temperatures in Italy are predicted to climb as high as 49C in Puglia, Sardinia and Sicily next week, as the heatwave gripping Southern Europe shows no sign of abating.
Red alerts for extreme heat have been issued in 16 cities across Italy as the Mediterranean country is gripped by blistering hot temperatures.
Israeli PM discharged from hospital after ‘not protecting himself’ during 40C heat
Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu has been discharged after an overnight hospital stay for check-ups and monitoring following a dizzy spell doctors said was causing dehydration.
Mr Netanyahu’s office said he had spent the previous day at the Sea of Galilee, a popular holiday spot in northern Israel where temperatures climbed to about 40C amid a stifling country-wide heat wave.
After a series of tests, the initial assessment was that the veteran Israeli leader was dehydrated, and Mr. Netanyahu released a video on social media on Saturday night.
Smiling, he said that he had been out in the sun on Friday without wearing a hat and without water. “Not a good idea,” he said.
Doctors ordered him to remain in the hospital overnight for further observation, and his weekly cabinet meeting was delayed by a day and rescheduled for Monday, his office said.
Andy GregoryJuly 16, 2023 11:59
La Palma residents ‘refusing to leave homes’ as thousands evacuated
Some local residents are refusing to leave their homes in the face of wildfires which have seen at least 4,000 people evacuated, the president of the Canary Islands has said.
The out-of-control fire in La Palma started in the early hours of Saturday in El Pinar de Puntagorda, a wooded area in the north of the island in the Canaries. The blaze forced the evacuation of people from the villages of Puntagorda and neighboring Tijarafe.
Ten aerial units and 300 firefighters on the ground sought to bring the wildfire under control, and president Fernando Clavijo said that at least 13 houses were destroyed as the fire advanced.
“There has been some resistance by local people to leave their homes, but I appeal to people to be responsible,” Mr Clavijo told reporters in La Palma.
In Tenerife, another of the eight Canary Islands, a forest fire, which broke out on Saturday, forced the evacuation of 50 people and destroyed about 60 hectares, authorities said.
King Felipe VI of Spain telephoned Mr Clavijo on Saturday to express his support with the people of La Palma, the Spanish royal household said.
Andy Gregory16 July 2023 10:57
ICYMI: Land temperatures in Spain surpass 60C as deadly heatwave sweeps Europe
The temperature of the ground in some areas of Spain has hit more than 60C during the deadly heatwave sweeping Europe, satellite recordings have shown.
It was so hot that a heat map that highlights scorching temperatures in red turned even darker – to black.
Temperature records have been broken on most of the continent, including France, Switzerland, Germany and Italy, where highs of 40C were recorded again on Wednesday.
my colleagues Jane Dalton has more in this report:
Andy GregoryJuly 16, 2023 10:21
Venetian tourists use umbrellas to shelter from the sun
Tourists in Venice have been filmed using umbrellas to protect themselves from the sun, as some 16 red alerts for heat were issued in Italy, including in Rome, Florence and Bologna.
Andy GregoryJuly 16, 2023 10:01
One third of Americans subject to extreme heat warnings
Around a third of Americans were subject to warnings for extreme heat on Saturday, as the blistering weather was forecast to intensify this weekend in Nevada, Arizona and California.
Temperatures in some desert areas were predicted to soar past 48.8C during the day, and remain above 32.2C overnight.
Around 200 hydration stations distributing bottles of water and cooling centers where potentially thousands of people can rest in air-conditioned spaces opened on Saturday in public spaces such as libraries, churches and businesses around the Phoenix area.
David Hondula, chief heat officer for the City of Phoenix, said that because of the health risks some centers were extending their hours, warning: “This weekend there will be some of the most serious and hot conditions we’ve ever seen.”
Andy GregoryJuly 16, 2023 09:32
South Korean rains death toll rises to 35
In news of extreme weather elsewhere, the death toll from the heavy rain which has caused flooding and landslides in South Korea has hit 35 – as the bodies of eight more people trapped in a submerged tunnel were retrieved on Sunday.
The chief of the west Cheongju fire station said some 15 vehicles, including a bus, were estimated to have been submerged in the underpass in the city shortly after a levee of a nearby river was destroyed by the downpours on Saturday.
“We are focusing on the search operation as there’s likely more people there,” they told reporters. “We are doing our best to wrap it up today.”
The latest disaster is taking place despite South Korea’s vow to step up preparedness against torrential rains after Seoul was hit last year with floods caused by the heaviest downpours in 115 years. While the nation often experiences heavy rains in summer, it has witnessed a sharp increase in recent years.
The Korea Meteorological Administration said the central and southern parts of the country could receive as much as 300mm of additional rain by Tuesday.
Andy GregoryJuly 16, 2023 08:47
Thousands evacuated as firefighters struggle to contain wildfires in the Canary Islands
Thousands of people have been evacuated from their homes as firefighters struggled to contain a wildfire tearing through the Spanish Canary Islands.
The fire began in La Palma early on Saturday and has already destroyed 4,500 hectares (11,100 acres) of land and at least a dozen homes.
Officials said around 400 troops from various agencies remained on the ground tackling the blaze.
Authorities said some 4,255 people had been evacuated but that others were declining to leave.
Matt MathersJuly 16, 2023 07:43
Should I keep my windows closed or open during a heatwave?
With the summer heat upon us, it means that our homes may become uncomfortably hot, especially at night.
As it gets hotter, it can be tempting to open your windows to let in some fresh air when the weather gets too warm – but should you keep them shut instead?
According to NHS advice, curtains should be kept shut to keep sun-facing rooms as shaded as possible.
Alisha Rahman Sarkar16 July 2023 07:30
Why is there no UK heatwave as Europe sweaters
A deadly heatwave sweeping across Europe with a temperature forecast to shatter records in the coming days stands in complete contrast to the weather faced by the United Kingdom that has had wet and windy conditions continuing this week.
As the UK gets prolonged showers – the Met Office predicts unsettled conditions to continue for the next few days – the Mediterranean region grapples with soaring heat that could touch a new European record as soon as this week.
Alisha Rahman SarkarJuly 16, 2023 07:00
Acropolis midday closure leaves many tourists in the lurch
Disgruntled tourists bemoaned the temporary closing of the Acropolis in Athens as Greek authorities proactively shut the world monument’s gates between midday and early evening.
Red Cross staff handed out bottled water to tourists wilting in long lines hoping to beat the closure and scale the steps up to the gleaming Parthenon temple as temperatures were expected to peak above 40C.
Some visitors were frustrated at being left in the lurch because they were unaware of the Greek authorities’ last-minute announcement of the Acropolis’ closure. One visitor said he was disappointed as his cruise ship would depart later in the day.
“I even bought a €50 ticket to skip the line to enter and I couldn’t enter the place,” Hector from Mexico told The Associated Press.
Alisha Rahman SarkarJuly 16, 2023 06:15