Cerberus Heatwave Grips Europe

Cerberus Heatwave 2023 heat map

The severity of the heatwave is evident in temperature models released by the European Space Agency. Image: Twitter/@esa

Europe has been hit by an unprecedented heatwave known as “Cerberus.” This extreme weather event, named after the mythical hounds of Hades, has brought scorching temperatures and devastating effects to several European countries. Greece, Italy, Spain, and parts of Southeast Europe have been particularly hard-hit. The Cerberus heatwave is one of the first major named heatwaves ever, with temperatures predicted to exceed 48°C, making it the hottest ever recorded in Europe.

The severity of the heatwave is evident in temperature models released by the European Space Agency, which show Italy experiencing temperatures exceeding 50°C. This event has also had far-reaching consequences, extending even to the Arctic. Following a week of the hottest global average temperatures on record, the heatwave has caused record-high temperatures in the Arctic region as well.

The impact of the heatwave has been felt on multiple fronts. Several regional temperature records have been shattered, and health warnings have been issued in numerous countries. Reports of tourists collapsing and closures of popular attractions highlight the severity of the situation. Experts have raised concerns that temperatures could surpass the record-breaking 48.8° previously recorded.

Meanwhile, wildfires continue to ravage the Spanish island of La Palma, with authorities reporting the evacuation of 2,000 individuals as of 9 pm on July 15. The blaze has consumed approximately 4,500 hectares of land, and dry conditions worsen the situation. Canary Islands regional president Fernando Clavijo has described the fire as “out of control.” Some residents have been reluctant to leave their homes, posing additional challenges for the evacuation efforts. Shifting winds during the night have raised concerns about the safety of the operation.

While much of Europe battles the heatwave, parts of the United Kingdom are facing a different set of challenges. Wind and thunderstorm warnings have been issued, leading to the cancellation of events such as the Goodwood Festival of Speed and the Tolpuddle Martyrs Festival. Flooding and landslides have also been reported in certain areas. The UK’s Met Office has cautioned that the unsettled weather may persist but expects improvements in the coming days.

Italy, one of the countries hit hardest by the heatwave, has seen an increase in cities on red alert for extreme heat. The warning signifies conditions that pose a threat to the entire population. The impact of the heatwave is evident along the River Tiber in Rome, where falling water levels have revealed ancient structures and disrupted navigation. Authorities and environmental experts are highlighting the urgent need to address climate change, as Italy must adapt to hotter temperatures and more frequent extreme weather events.

Meteorologists attribute the blistering heat in Europe and the United States to a combination of long-term global warming caused by greenhouse gases and the short-term boost from El Niño. As Europe braces for even higher temperatures, the United States is already feeling the impact of extreme heat. Cities like Phoenix, Arizona, have experienced temperatures exceeding 43.3°C (110°F) for 15 consecutive days. The authorities have set up mobile clinics to treat homeless individuals suffering from burns and dehydration. In addition to the heatwave’s impact, wildfires have erupted in Southern California, adding to the region’s challenges.

As extreme weather events become increasingly common, the urgent need to address climate change and mitigate its effects becomes ever more apparent. The heatwave gripping Europe serves as a stark reminder of the importance of taking decisive action to protect our planet and ensure the well-being of future generations.

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Written by

Catherine McGeer

I am an Irish writer who has been living in Spain for the past twenty years. My writing centers around the Costa Cálida. As a mother I also write about family life on the coast of Spain and every now and then I try to break down the world of Spanish politics!


    • M

      16 July 2023 • 22:55

      We have to factor in the Sun’s 11 year solar cycle in part as a contributing factor to these ferocious temperatures. one point to note that if all emissions were to stop tommorrow the sea temperature will still keep rising for the next 50 years, food for thought!

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