'Cerberus' heatwave brings searing temperatures to Europe with Italy set to surpass highs of 45C

11 July 2023, 10:50 | Updated: 11 July 2023, 13:15

Sicily and Sardinia are predicted to face the worst of the extreme conditions
Sicily and Sardinia are predicted to face the worst of the extreme conditions. Picture: Alamy

By Emma Soteriou

A fierce heatwave is set to sweep the continent this week, with Italy expected to break a European record amid the scorching temperatures.

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Italy is forecast to surpass 45C in coming days as an anticyclone - named Cerberus - causes temperatures to soar.

Sicily and Sardinia are predicted to face the worst of the extreme conditions, reaching highs of 47-48C.

The record for the highest temperature in European history was previously broken in August 2021, when 48C was recorded in Floridia in Sicily.

Prof Luca Mercalli, the president of the Italian Meteorological Society, said: "We know that there will be temperatures above 40C or 45C.

"We could get close to the record. Either way, the levels will be very high."

The extreme temperatures are expected to last for about two weeks in central and southern parts of Italy.

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It is no coincidence that the anticyclone has been named after Cerberus, the three-headed dog from Greek mythology that guards the gates to the underworld.

"Metaphorically, the three heads indicate the three main climatic zones into which Italy will be divided," meteorologist Stefano Rossi told Italian outlet La Stampa.

A heatwave is also sweeping across France, Germany, Spain and Poland.

Temperatures are expected to reach 44C in some southern parts of Spain, with the Red Cross warning people to take extra care.

Meanwhile, Brits are expected to have to wait until later in the month to see the return of the warm weather.

Heavy rain and thunderstorms are set to continue to at least July 23, but then a two-week heatwave is forecast to hit, reaching highs of 40C.

Swarms of flying ants have also been spotted on and around the south coast of England in recent days.

Met Office forecaster Simon Partridge said: "Every year around this time we do pick them up on the rain radar. At the moment it’s harder to tell because we’ve got so many showers and the ants look like showers.

"When we do get the rain, they don’t fly as much. It’s generally the southern parts of the UK where we tend to notice it most."