End in sight for Italy's hottest heatwave of summer

ROME- As Italy’s fifth and hottest heatwave swelters the whole country, Wednesday is set to see 17 cities branded with a ‘red alert’ weather warning (‘bollino rosso’), according to forecasts. Thursday, however, will see the number of ‘red alert’ cities fall to 14, signalling a welcome respite from the scorching temperatures which have surpassed 50 degrees in some places.

 Weather forecasts predict temperatures to drop next week, although Wednesday and Thursday is set to see high temperatures still. The number of cities under a ‘red alert’ weather warning indicates that the heatwave from an anticyclone blowing from north Africa has not finished its time in Italy just yet, according to the Italian Minister of Health.

 Northern Italy has already seen a fall in its temperatures and has even welcomed rain in some places. The rest of Italy, however, must wait until Friday to feel the much-sought after cooler temperatures that are expected to fall by up to 10 degrees. The predictions from meteorologists at Centro Epson Meteo-Meteo.it have reported that the heatwave is in the process of dying out and, if usual trends are to follow, the holidays of August 15 will be celebrated with a bearable summer temperature. They reported that the temperatures will first drop in central regions and Sardinia, and finally in southern regions and Sicily on Friday and Saturday.

 However, the Centro’s meteorologists warned that cooler temperatures will not necessarily be accompanied by a relief in the current drought situation and blazes sweeping the country. “The drop of temperatures in the North will be accompanied by some stormy spells,” they predicted, “whilst the South will probably not see any significant rainfall for yet many days. The drought that has been affecting our country for months now is therefore set to get worse and the risk of fires also remains extremely high.”

 The extreme temperatures have been accompanied by fires in Rome and Abruzzo. In the latter case, a mountain area was affected by a blaze near the site of an avalanche which devastating the Hotel Rigopiano. The heat is also said to have affected animals and their natural habitats, with the production of honey falling to its lowest point in 35 years.