HomeTop StoriesThe Balkan countries are sweltering due to the early summer heat wave...

The Balkan countries are sweltering due to the early summer heat wave and people are warned to be extra careful

BELGRADE, Serbia (AP) — Authorities in Western Balkan countries warned citizens Friday to be careful, drink water and avoid sunshine during an early heat wave that sent temperatures soaring to 40 degrees Celsius (104 degrees Fahrenheit).

“Do not stay out in the sun between 11 a.m. and 5 p.m.,” the Serbian Institute of Public Health warned in its instructions to citizens. “If you must go out, please bring a bottle of water.”

Meteorologists say the heat in the region this week came from Africa, carrying sand particles that created a cloud-like layer that obscured the skyline.

The sweltering heat was worst in the big cities, where the concrete was sizzling even in the evenings, and where the nights offered no rest as temperatures remained above 20 degrees Celsius (68 degrees Fahrenheit).

Although hot summers are normal in the Balkans, temperatures do not reach such highs in mid-June, prompting weather alerts and warnings.

Earlier this week, authorities in North Macedonia imposed emergency measures until Sunday, after which the heat is expected to subside.

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Belgrade resident Milos Jeftovic said he is following instructions and taking every opportunity to stay near the Serbian capital’s two rivers. Authorities, he said, should have shortened working hours and parked water tankers on city streets.

“Personally I don’t have a problem… but this is not okay, the temperatures are above acceptable levels,” Jeftovic said.

Weather warnings were also issued in neighboring Croatia, a tourist hotspot, where the heatwave is set to peak on Friday, ahead of an expected weather change over the weekend that could lead to storms.

Montenegrin state television RTCG said that although citizens of the country’s capital Podgorica are used to very high temperatures, some complained that they started too early. One man told the TV station: “I really don’t know what we’re going to do.”

Experts say extreme weather events are also caused by climate change.

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