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First summer alert for extreme heat

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Cyprus’ Met Office has issued a yellow warning for extreme heat on Thursday as the island heads for its first prolonged summer heatwave.

The warning comes into effect from 11 am with temperatures expected to reach 40 degrees Celsius.

The island braces for its first prolonged summer heatwave as a high-pressure weather system, Cleon, moves in from Greece.

Cleon falls under Dangerous Weather Phenomena, with temperatures in southern Greece on Friday hitting  44°C.

“The heatwave is expected to hit the island on Thursday, pushing temperatures past 40°C for five to six days.

“Friday and Saturday will be the hottest days with temperatures reaching 42°C and 43°C,” said the Met Office head Kleanthis Nicolaides.

The higher mountains will offer little respite from the heat, as maximum temperatures on Friday and Saturday will touch 36°C.

Nicolaides said Cleon is expected to affect Greece until July 15 but was hesitant to predict how long it will prevail in Cyprus.

He clarified that, if necessary, relevant warnings will be sent out along with weather updates issued every eight hours.

In Greece, according to the special bulletin of hazardous weather phenomena issued by the National Meteorological Service (EMY), the extensive area of high pressure covers the coasts of Africa, the western and central Mediterranean.

Humidity

“The heatwave will be accompanied by high humidity levels and a high UV index, making the atmosphere stifling.

“Vulnerable groups of the population are urged to be especially cautious,” said Nicolaides.

He said that heatwaves of this calibre are not unusual for Cyprus in July.

The heatwave arrives in Cyprus amid record-breaking temperatures globally.

July 4 was the hottest day ever recorded globally, while June was the hottest June across the globe since records began.

The warmest day in July was also recorded in 2020, with a peak temperature of 44.6°C.

A name has been given to the specific system as it affects a large area of the Mediterranean with extremely high temperatures.

The name Cleon was given from a previously prepared list agreed between the National Meteorological Services of Greece, Cyprus, and Israel.

The weather system comes from the ancient Theban general of the Peloponnesian wars, Cleon.

It should be noted that yellow weather alerts are issued for weather conditions that do not pose an immediate threat to the general population but only to those exposed to exceptional conditions.

The Cyprus Forests Department is also on “red alert” warning for fire risk urging the public to refrain from activities that may cause a fire.