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Italy had the hottest day in history in Europe

(CNN) – Authorities in Italy say the island of Sicily, the largest in the Mediterranean, could have set an all-time temperature record for Europe, reaching 48.8 degrees Celsius (119.8 degrees Fahrenheit).

The record was smashed by the city of Syracuse on Wednesday afternoon, when an anticyclone, referred to in Italian media reports as “Lucifer,” swept through and continued to advance toward the north of the country. The constant heat wave around the Mediterranean in Europe and North Africa has contributed to some of the worst fires We saw there years ago.

The highest temperature ever recorded in Europe was 48.0 °C (118 °F) in Athens, Greece, in 1977, according to the World Meteorological Organization (WMO).

The record has been confirmed in Italy by the Sicilian authorities, but must be officially verified by the WMO.

A man finds relief from the heat in Messina, on the Italian island of Sicily, on Wednesday.

“At the moment there are no grounds for invalidating it, but if possible we will make a subsequent assessment of the accuracy of the procedure,” said the Sicily Agrometeorological Information Service, the official operator of the Sicily meteorological station.

A cyclone is a high pressure system, in which the atmospheric pressure is relatively higher than the surrounding air.

In the northern hemisphere, they rotate clockwise, while in the southern hemisphere they rotate in the other direction.

Some fires have been started by arsonists, but scientists say it is the climate crisis that is making heat waves and fires more frequent and intense, and therefore more destructive.

People enjoy the calm at sea in Palermo, Sicily, on Wednesday.

A report from the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released on Monday says 38 types of weather conditions that lead to wildfires have become more likely in southern Europe over the past century. Globally, heat waves and droughts that exacerbate fires have also increased.

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Temperatures across the Mediterranean are 5 to 10 degrees Celsius above average this week, and dozens of people have died in wildfires in southern Europe and North Africa, mostly in Algeria, where 65 people have died. Deaths have also been recorded in Turkey. parts of Italy and Greece They were also badly affected by the fires, with some villages largely destroyed.

Greek fires destroy homes and cause havoc 1:26