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Heat Wave to Blaze Through Greece Reminiscent of 1987 Temperatures

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A heat wave is expected to effect most of Greece over the next week. Credit: Greek Reporter

A severe heat wave is expected to blaze through Greece for the next week, the National Meteorological Service announced Monday.

This is not the first heat wave the country has faced this summer; however forecasts show that temperatures are supposed to skyrocket again to 43 degrees Celsius (109 degrees Fahrenheit) in some parts Greece, reminding many of the deadly 1987 heat wave.

Heat wave expected throughout Greece

The urgent announcement by the National Meteorological Service attempts to bring awareness to the dangers associated with the soaring temperatures Greece is likely to face for the next week.

From Tuesday onward, temperatures across the country are forecast to take a turn and change drastically. This is due to the hot air masses which are likely to travel from north Africa to Greece and send thermometers skyrocketing.

However, the agency made note of the fact that the heat wave hitting Greece will be at its absolute worst from Thursday, July 29, to Tuesday, August 3.

As part of its urgent warning to those residing in Greece, it released a infographic outlining the precautions that people should take to protect themselves. These guidelines include avoiding strenuous activity and the sun, staying very hydrated and taking care of any elderly relatives and friends.

The service also released a list of certain areas which will likely be more severely affected than others by Greece’s heat wave.

On Tuesday, the highest temperatures in the country will be recorded in the regions of Epirus and Thessaly, where the heat will reach 39 to 40 degrees Celsius (102 to 104 degrees Fahrenheit). The Ionian islands will also be badly affected, with temperatures of 35 to 36 degrees Celsius (95 to 96.8 degrees Fahrenheit) expected.

On Wednesday, western central Greece and Thessaly will again face the harshest temperatures, at 40 to 41 degrees Celsius (104 to 105.8 degrees Fahrenheit). Residents of central Macedonia and Epirus will also need to shield themselves from the heat, with thermometers expected to read 39 to 40 degrees Celsius (102 to 104 degrees Fahrenheit).

The Ionian Islands, the eastern Aegean islands and the islands of the Dodecanese archipelago are all expected to see temperatures skyrocket to 37 degrees Celsius (98.6 degrees Fahrenheit).

The same areas are forecast to face the highest temperatures on Thursday, with Friday marking the first of a string of days where temperatures are expected to hover at around 43 degrees Celsius (109 degrees Fahrenheit).

Meteorologist Klearchos Marousakis, interviewed on the Greek television channel “OPEN,” spoke on the heat wave facing Greece over the next few days.

“According to current data, this heat wave, at least in terms of its duration, will be reminiscent of the great heat wave of 1987,” Marousakis said. However, he was quick to remind viewers of the significant strides that Greece and the world has made since 1987 which mean that temperatures of this magnitude are no longer likely to have such tragic outcomes.

The meteorologist clarified that “the infrastructure and structures of the state are different today, while there are also air conditioners.

“Let the people not be terrified, we will pass through this heat wave more gently,” Marousakis assured listeners, although he warned the public that the soaring temperatures are likely to last seven to eight days.

Greeks remember the 1987 heat wave that killed 1,300 people

July 20, 1987 marked the beginning of the deadliest heat wave in modern Greek history that left 1,300 dead people in its wake.

The heatwave was of unprecedented duration, since the whole of Greece’s mainland was burning up for seven to eight days, with city temperatures exceeding 40 degrees. The continuous windless days, along with the high humidity, created a lethal combination.

According to newspapers at the time, temperatures did not fall below 30 degrees Celsius — even at night — during that meteorological event. Air conditioners and air coolers were also not widely used in 1987, leaving millions of Greeks at the mercy of the cruel phenomenon.

The majority of the victims were elderly people. Official figures spoke of 1,300 dead, with unofficial estimates speaking of 1,500 victims. The most casualties were recorded in the Attica region, amounting to 1,115 dead.

The press at the time painted a rather harrowing picture with screaming headlines of “Infernos” and “God Help Us.” Reporters wrote about overflowing hospital morgues and the transferring of dead bodies to Army camp morgues, while funeral homes did not have enough time to prepare the dead for burial.

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