A scorching heatwave is sweeping across various parts of southern Europe, bringing the potential for record-breaking temperatures in the coming days.

Parts of Spain, France, Greece, Croatia, and Turkey are expected to experience temperatures surpassing 40°C (104°F). Italy, in particular, faces the possibility of reaching as high as 48.8°C (119.8°F). As a result, a red alert warning has been issued for 10 cities, including Rome, Bologna, and Florence.

Tragically, on Tuesday, a man in his forties collapsed and died while painting zebra crossing lines in Lodi, near Milan, due to the intense heat. Additionally, several visitors to Italy have suffered heatstroke, including a British man outside the Colosseum in Rome.

Authorities have advised people to stay hydrated by drinking at least two liters of water per day and to avoid dehydrating substances such as coffee and alcohol.

The extreme temperatures have disrupted plans for tourists, with some opting to avoid going out in the middle of the day to minimize exposure to the heat. The impact of climate change is a concern for many, with individuals stressing the need for collective responsibility and action to mitigate its effects.

Dubbed the Cerberus heatwave by the Italian Meteorological Society, after the three-headed monster from Dante’s Inferno, the current extreme weather is expected to continue intensifying in the next few days.

Meanwhile, Spain has been experiencing scorching temperatures of up to 45°C (113°F) for several days, with minimal relief at night as temperatures remained above 25°C (77°F).

To assist those affected by the heat, the Andalusian regional government has established a telephone assistance service, which has received an overwhelming 54,000 calls since its inception in early June.

Satellite imagery from the European Union’s Copernicus Sentinel mission has revealed land surface temperatures in the Extremadura region of Spain reaching a scorching 60°C (140°F) on Tuesday.

The United Kingdom’s national weather service, the Met Office, predicts that temperatures will peak on Friday. BBC Weather forecasts that large areas of southern Europe may experience temperatures in the low to mid-40s Celsius, with the possibility of even higher temperatures.

As the Cerberus heatwave subsides, Italian weather forecasters are already cautioning about the next heatwave, named Charon after the ferryman in Greek mythology who transported souls to the underworld. This new heatwave is expected to raise temperatures in Rome to around 43°C (109°F) and potentially reach 47°C (116°F) on the island of Sardinia.