NEW HEAT WAVE - Italy dries up...

Drought, heat, forest fires and locusts: Italy is fighting the summer of 2022. There is no relief in sight - on the contrary. Meteorologists predict the next heat wave, with peaks of up to 50 degrees!

The forecast is gloomy. "Southern Europe will be cooked in the coming weeks. From Portugal to Italy to the Balkans, there is a threat of highs around 40 degrees for days, maybe even weeks, with peaks between 45 and 50 degrees," says meteorologist Paul Heger from wetter.de: 

This is the longest "river" in Italy currently

"This is record high for Europe! Especially the length of the possible heat, coupled with the already extreme drought, will cause big problems."

The following regions have had a heat warning since 1 July:

  • Apulia
  • Basilicata
  • Calabria
  • Campania
  • Brands
  • Molise
  • Sardinia
  • Sicily

The extreme heat and drought massively increases the danger of forest fires. Already in the second half of June there are more than 10,000 bush and forest fires - especially around Rome, in Apulia and in Sicily. In Tuscany, fires have already destroyed a third of the harvest.

These cities are under a level red heat warning:

  • Ancona
  • Bari
  • Bologna
  • Bolzano
  • Brescia
  • Cagliari
  • Campobasso
  • Catania
  • Cittavecchia
  • Florence
  • Frosinone
  • Latina
  • Messina
  • Naples
  • Palermo
  • Perugia
  • Pescara
  • Reggio Calabria
  • Rieti
  • Rome
  • Trieste
  • Viterbo

A state of emergency has already been declared in five regions in northern Italy (we reported several times). What does this mean? In emergency regions, the authorities can directly enforce emergency measures such as water rationing. Currently affected are Lombardy, Emilia-Romagna, Friuli-Venezia Giulia, Piedmont and Veneto. 

The smoke from the forest fires in Rome

Drinking water is already being rationed in cities like Verona. Until 31 August, water may only be used for drinking and cooking, personal hygiene and household cleaning.

The water level is below sea level due to persistent drought. As a result, saltwater is currently penetrating up to 30 kilometres inland and spoiling the harvests. So far, the farmers' association expects a crop loss of 40 percent in the fruit and vegetable sector. In the case of cereals, rice, maize and soya, more than half of the harvest has dried up. 

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written by Annie Kayser, first published 7.7.2022

Cover/Montage - Photo: Xurzon/Getty Images via canva.com

Sources: own research;  BR.de/: "Holiday season: Drought, heat and forest fires in Italy"; Wetter.de/Henning Liss and Paul Heger: "Days to weeks of around 40 degrees possible - New heat wave rolling towards Spain, Italy and other countries in southern Europe".

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