Greece is bracing for the first heatwave of the summer season with meteorologists warning that, starting on Wednesday, temperatures in several parts of Greece will climb up to 37C (98.6F).
The temperature in Evros will rise to 34C while in Pella, Pieria, and Imathia it will go up to 35 degrees. In Thessaly, temperatures will be close to 36C while in Boeotia and Argolida they will reach 37C.
Athens and Thessaloniki will be cooler.
Greece hopes there will be no repeat of the 2021 heatwave this summer
Greece experienced one of the more intense heatwaves in recent memory in July and August 2021. The town of Makrakomi in Greece’s Phthiotis region recorded a jaw-dropping 46.3C (115.3F), which was officially the highest ever to be recorded in Greece’s network of hundreds of stations operated by the National Observatory of Athens (NOA).
The unprecedented 2021 heatwave was also responsible for the catastrophic fires in Evia and Attica—amongst other places—that burned an area almost twice the size of New York City.
The new fire season started on May 1st and will last until October 31st. The New Democracy government of Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, which in 2021 admitted to shortcomings in spontaneously dealing with hundreds of fires across the country, is stepping up preparations.
There has already been a marked increase in the number of forest fires in Greece in the first three months of 2022, the National Observatory of Athens said in April.
According to an analysis by the European Forest Fire Information System (EFFIS), forest fires in Greece this year have amounted to a 750 percent average increase compared to the number of blazes recorded in the same time span in the period of 2008 to 2021.
UN warns Greece to expect more heatwaves
A recent UN report on climate change warned that Greece should expect more heatwaves, weaker winds, and less overall precipitation. At the same time, beaches and coastlines will be lost as sea levels continue to rise.
The report projects that in the coming decades, climate changes will increase in all regions.
About two degrees Fahrenheit is the forecast for global warming with increasing heat waves, longer warm seasons, and shorter cold seasons.
At four degrees Fahrenheit of global warming, heat extremes would more often reach critical tolerance thresholds for agriculture and health, the report shows.