Italy’s stifling Cerberus heatwave is set to get even more intense over the weekend. The number of major cities on red alert climbs to 15 on Saturday and 16 on Sunday, the health ministry said.
Named after the three-headed dog which guards the gates of hell in Greek mythology, the Cerberus heatwave has Italy and southern Europe locked in its jaws.
Today, 10 cities are on red alert, meaning that the heat is so intense it poses a threat to the whole population, not just groups such as the elderly, the clinically vulnerable and very young children.
They are Bologna, Campobasso, Florence, Frosinone, Latina, Perugia, Pescara, Rieti, Roma and Viterbo.
Bari, Cagliari, Catania, Civitavecchia and Messina will join them on Saturday, with Palermo coming in on Sunday.
“The earth has a high fever and Italy is feeling it firsthand,” Luca Mercalli, head of the Italian Meteorological Society, told CNN.
In Rome, several tourists collapsed due to heat stroke on Tuesday and early Wednesday, including an unnamed British tourist who passed out in front of the ancient Roman Colosseum, according to Rome’s civil protection head Giuseppe Napolitano.
As hot as hell
A second heatwave is expected to hit Italy next week as Cerberus is swiftly followed by heatwave Charon, named after the ferryman to the underworld in Greek mythology.
According to La Repubblica, the heat expected this weekend could be trumped by 12C in the following days, particularly for Tuscany and Lazio.
Antonio Sanò, founder of the iLMeteo.it told the Italian publication that Charon may break many heat records.
A study coordinated by the Barcelona Institute for Global Health and published in the Nature Medicine journal this week estimated that over 18,000 people died in Italy due to the intense heat the nation endured last summer.