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Highest Ever Temperature In Europe Recorded In Sicily

Highest Ever Temperature In Europe Recorded In Sicily

Temperatures have reached scorching levels in Sicily, beating the previous high which was recorded in Athens in 1977

Rebecca Shepherd

Rebecca Shepherd

Sicily has beaten the highest ever temperature recorded in Europe, having recorded a staggering reading of 48.8°C.

If the reading is confirmed, it will mean temperatures have reached chart-busting levels in the historic city of Siracusa (also known as Syracuse) which is situated on the Italian island.

Before now, the last highest temperature recorded was 48C in Athens, Greece, in 1977, which was accepted by the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) - although it is disputed by some meteorologists.

The latest weather report came in from Sicily's Agrometeorological Information System (SIAS) and was recorded as fires continue to ravage southern Italy.

Over the weekend, firefighters on the Italian island battled dozens of wildfires fuelled by the historic temperatures. This prompted the region's governor to request assistance from Rome.

A firefighter battles against wildfires on Sicily Island.

Some 150 people trapped in two seaside areas in the city of Catania were evacuated by sea late on Friday. They were picked up by rubber dinghies and transferred to Coast Guard boats.

A beach concession area with sunbeds and umbrellas was completely destroyed by fire.

The Catania airport also was briefly closed to give precedence to helicopters and planes battling the flames.

Regional Gov. Nello Musumeci told reporters that some fires appeared to have been caused by arsonists, while others had natural causes as temperatures hit record levels.

Agriculture Minister, Stefano Patuanelli, said: "We must immediately respond to this emergency, providing economic relief to those who have lost everything."

Italy isn't the only country currently tackling blazes, either - Greece has also been working to contain flare-ups of huge wildfires.

Fire in the north of the Greek island of Euboa.

The fires broke out last week as Greece had just experienced its worst and most protracted heat wave since 1987, leaving its forests tinder-dry.

Other nearby nations such as Turkey also faced similar searing temperatures and quickly spreading fires, while Spain and Portugal were on alert for wildfires amid a heat wave forecast to last through Monday.

At the southern side of the Mediterranean Sea, wildfires in Algeria's mountains have killed 65 people, including 28 soldiers sent in to help, and three days of national mourning begin on Thursday.

Worsening drought and heat - both linked to climate change - have also fuelled wildfires this summer in the Western US and in Russia's northern Siberia region.

Featured Image Credit: PA

Topics: Weather, News, Europe, Fire, Italy