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Sicily reports 48.8C in what could be Europe’s highest ever temperature

Written by on 11/08/2021

Sicily has reported what could be the highest temperature ever recorded in Europe – with meteorologists urging caution about the figure.

Syracuse, a city on the southeast coast of the Italian island, saw temperatures of 48.8C (119.8F) on Wednesday, according to the Sicily region’s agriculture-meteorological information service (SIAS).

The highest temperature ever recorded on the European continent is 48C (118.4F), recorded in Athens in 1977.

The temperature in Sicily is yet to be independently confirmed by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), which will need to verify the recording for it to become a new European temperature record.

Randy Cerveny, the agency’s representative for weather records, said it was “suspicious, so we’re not going to make any immediate determination”.

“It doesn’t sound terribly plausible,” Mr Cerveny added. “But we’re not going to dismiss it.”

WMO spokesperson Sylvie Castonguay also urged caution: “Extreme weather and climate events are often sensationalised and mischaracterised as ‘records’ before they have been thoroughly investigated and properly validated.”

More on Italy

But the high-pressure system of near-record strength currently over the Mediterranean could produce unprecedented heat somewhere, according to meteorologist Jeff Masters of Yale Climate Connections.

He said North Africa was flirting with all-time high temperatures.

On its Facebook page, the SIAS said it was the highest temperature registered in the entire network since it was installed in 2002.

Italy’s air force meteorological service said it had not recorded temperatures approaching that high on Wednesday. But it said its stations are in other locations, so variations are expected.

A heatwave driven by hot air from North Africa has spread across large parts of the Mediterranean in the last few days.

 Sky News

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