European heatwave: new heat warnings in Greece as tourists warned sites such as Acropolis forced to close
Forecasters have predicted that Greece could see its hottest weekend in more than five decade, with tourist sites such as the Acropolis shut as a result
Temperatures this weekend are set to hit 45C, marking the hottest July weekend in the country for 50 years, according to one of the country's top meteorologists. Panagiotis Giannopoulos said: "This weekend risks being the hottest registered in July in the past 50 years.
"Athens is going to have temperatures above 40C for six to seven days, through to the end of July."
The heat has seen warnings put in place for those hoping to see the sites of ancient Greece, with tourist magnets such as the Acropolis set to close during the peak of the heat over the weekend. It comes during the height of tourist season in the country. The Acropolis is among the sites due to be closed between 12pm and 5pm until at least Sunday.
The high temperatures and dry weather are due to continue into next week, with a new warning put in place for a temperature surge on Tuesday 25 July.
Greece's Hellenic National Meteorological Service (HNMS) has forecasted a peak of 44C for today (Saturday) in Athens. Temperatures are set to increase again on Sunday 23 July, possibly reaching 45C.
It comes as the heatwave across Europe continues, with temperatures reaching the high 40s in the southern region of the continent.
Wildfires have also raged throughout the continent, with the infernos affecting Greece, Italy and Switzerland. Greek firefighters and authorities have been battling the wildfires for five days.
More than 100 homes and building have been damaged in the fires so far. Climate Crisis Minister Vassilis Kikilias said: "We are having a very difficult three-day spell, Friday, Saturday and Sunday, with extreme weather conditions and very high temperatures followed by strong winds."
They have been particularly bad just outside of Athens, as well across the south of the country in Rhodes and Lakonia. Thousands of people were evacuated form their homes earlier this week as the fires spread outside of Athens.
Experts have predicted that the current situation could become worse than the 1987 heatwave which gripped Greece and killed hundreds of people. Antonis Lalos, a director at Greece's National Meteorology Service said: "It seems that the record of 1987 where temperatures were also very high for about 12-13 days will be broken this time."
Climate scientists have warned about the effects of climate change severely altering weather, with this already evident in the heatwave hitting the continent. Professor Robert Watson of the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change recently told the BBC that he was "very pessimistic" about the world reaching its emissions target and gaining a handle on global warming.