July was the second hottest month on record, as a prolonged heatwave began, pushing average temperatures to 39.5°C, close to last year’s all-time high of 39.7°C, the Cyprus Met Office said.
It is the sixth consecutive year that July’s average daily maximum temperature was above the seasonal norm.
However, the island will not exit extreme heat conditions anytime soon, as August will see higher than usual temperatures prevail throughout the month.
Cyprus has been sweltering under a prolonged heatwave since 27 July, with temperatures peaking at 45.7°C in Nicosia on Wednesday, just half a degree under the record of 46.2°C registered on 4 September last year.
Temperatures were consistently above 40°C throughout the two-week heatwave.
Friday is expected to be the last yellow warning for “extreme heat” during this heatwave.
The Met Office said the island is in for a two-day respite as temperatures drop to 37°C over the weekend.
They are expected to climb back up to 40°C next week, with weather experts warning that Cyprus is in for more scorching hot weather.
In comments to the Financial Mirror, weather observer Eric Kitas of Kitas Weather said temperatures in the coming days and possibly weeks would hover around 40°C, well above the average 38°C for the season.
He said the discomfort levels would continue to be high, as humidity levels will be higher.
“Anyone going to the beach will feel the sea is hotter than usual. Around 3-4 degrees hotter.
“This results in higher humidity levels, especially for the island’s coastal areas, increasing discomfort levels significantly,” said Kitas.
Asked whether Cyprus is the victim of climate change, Kitas said there appears to be a steady increase in summer temperatures in the past decade, but more time is needed for scientists to evaluate the true impact of climate change.
“Cyprus is no stranger to harsh summers. However, last year’s summer was the hottest on record, so we expect to see some balance in the system in the following years,” said Kitas.
Also talking to the Financial Mirror, a Met Office official confirmed that Cyprus is in for a hotter than usual August, with temperatures slightly above normal.
“Cyprus will continue to be affected by a high-pressure system in the middle atmosphere, which increases air temperature in the lower atmosphere.
“As a result of which, there have been many extremely high-temperature warnings in the past month.”
The official, who did not want to be named, said Cyprus would be wilting under higher than usual temperatures, possibly until early September.
“We do not see a significant drop in temperatures for the next two to three weeks”.
Asked to comment on climate change and how it affects the island, the official said Cyprus should expect hotter summers and prolonged heatwaves due to global warming.
On Friday night, minimum temperatures will drop to 25°C inland and 24°C on the coast and 21°C in the mountainous areas, the lowest since the heatwave began.
The weekend will be cooler, with temperatures dropping to 39°C on Saturday and 37°C on Sunday, only to pick up again early next week with temperatures hovering around 40°C.