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Greece sizzles on hottest day of year

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A tourist holds a parasol as she visits the Ancient Acropolis archeological site in Athens on July 1, 2021. – The archaeological sites are closed on July 1 during the hottest hours as Greece is bracing for the first heatwave of the summer as a heat wave rolls into the country, pushing daytime temperatures into 40+ Celsius territory in many parts of the country. (Photo by Louisa GOULIAMAKI / X07402 / AFP)

Greece sizzled Thursday as temperatures topped 43 degrees Celsius (109 Fahrenheit), the year’s hottest, with authorities warning the public to stay indoors if possible.

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Temperatures have remained high for ten consecutive days, with the warmest weather expected in central Greece according to the national meteorological service.

Slightly higher temperatures had been recorded in July 2007 and 2000.

In Athens, authorities have made air conditioned halls available to the homeless, elderly and other vulnerable sections of the population.

The Acropolis, one of the most visited tourist sites in the country, was shut during the afternoon as a precaution.

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Greece’s civil protection has called for vigilance this week, in particular for the elderly and children who must hydrate regularly and avoid unnecessary sun exposure.

There is also a high risk of fire in several parts of the country, the agency said.

The fire department on Thursday said it was battling three notable blazes, the largest of them on the island of Crete.

In July 1987, nearly 1,500 people died following one of the worst heat waves in Greek history.

Temperatures at the time had hovered around 43 degrees Celsius in Athens for several days in a row, at a time when few homes were equipped with air conditioning.

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