reece is facing the hottest July weekend in 50 years, a top meteorologist has warned, as wildfires continue to rage across the country.
Panagiotis Giannopoulos, a meteorologist with state broadcaster ERT, said Athens would see temperatures of over 40C for six or seven days until the end of July.
Firefighters, backed by air water bombers and reinforcements sent by several EU countries, were continuing to battle a wildfire that burnt forestland for a sixth day on Saturday.
The fire, which broke out in the wider Athens area on Monday, has gutted houses and forced the evacuation of hundreds of residents.
Authorities said that firefighters were battling 79 forest fires across the country on Friday, though blazes in forests on the island of Rhodes and in the Lakonia district in southern Greece were under control.
People have been advised to work from home where possible and not leave the house unless for essential reasons, while popular tourist sites will remain closed during the hottest parts of the day.
The Culture Ministry said the Acropolis would shut between midday and 5.30pm until July 23 due to the extreme heat.
Neighbouring Turkey on Friday said it would send two firefighting aircraft and a helicopter to help Greek fire crews to contain the wildfires.
Climate Crisis Minister Vassilis Kikilias urged people to remain on guard.
“We are having a very difficult three-day spell, Friday, Saturday and Sunday, with extreme weather conditions and very high temperatures followed by strong winds,” he said, adding that another heatwave was forecast from the middle of next week.
It comes amid a prolonged spell of scorching temperatures and extreme weather across the globe.
In the US, temperatures of 46C have been forecast for the city of Phoenix, Arizona for the weekend. Death Valley, in California, saw a high of 53.5C on Sunday.
Several cities in China, including Shanghai and Beijing, are bracing for floodwaters amid heavy rainfall. It comes days after a record temperature of 52.2C was reported in the Sanbao township in the country’s north-western Xinjiang region.
Scientists have long warned that climate change, caused by CO2 emissions from burning fossil fuels, will make heatwaves more frequent and deadly. Experts say the target of keeping global warming within 1.5 degrees Celsius of pre-industrial levels is moving beyond reach.
As many as 61,000 people may have died in Europe during heatwaves last summer, according to the European Union’s Copernicus Climate Change Service.
In the UK, the Met Office predict that hot summer weather will not arrive until mid-August.