Warnings issued as Italians brace for heat wave
Sunday, July 28, 2013, 12:01 - Temperatures will soar, beginning Sunday, across much of Italy as a ridge of high pressure moves over the country.
A ridge of high pressure originating in sub-Saharan Africa will bring baking temperatures to most of Italy in the coming days.
Originating from Morocco and Mauritania, temperatures could top 37 degrees Celsius.
The Ministry of Health issued a level 3 warning for the cities of Bologna, Bolzano, Florence and Turin. More places are likely to be added Sunday.
Level 3 is the highest on the ministry's scale. It means a state of emergency with possible negative health effects for all people, not just at risk groups.
Already Saturday Rome reached 40C but it felt like 42C.
This will be the worst heat wave since 2003.
That year, record temperatures scorched several countries around Europe. France almost had 15,000 heat related deaths in just three months.
It was also among the warmest summers in Italy for three centuries.