Cyprus recorded its hottest day ever for May on Tuesday with temperatures climbing to an unprecedented 44 degrees Celsius, the Meteorological Service said.
Met Service Director Kleanthis Nicolaides said Tuesday’s temperature was the highest on record for the month of May since record-keeping began more than a century ago.
On Monday, the temperature on the island reached 43 degrees Celsius.
The highest temperature ever recorded in Cyprus was 45.6 degrees Celsius on Aug. 1, 2010.
Hospitals around the island reported that many people, mostly elderly, who visited the emergency departments were diagnosed with mild heatstroke and dehydration.
High temperatures have been affecting Cyprus since the middle of last week as a result of an anticyclone, which funnels hot air from the African deserts into the eastern Mediterranean.
This weather system stretches from the Atlantic to North Africa and part of the Mediterranean.
“It has high barometric pressure at its center, with downward pressure on the air, which increases temperatures even more,” Nicolaides said.
The weather system’s big size explains the length of the heatwave that impacts Cyprus with temperatures of between 12 degrees Celsius to 14 degrees Celsius over the seasonal average of 28-30 degrees Celsius.
Nicolaides said that another record was that high temperatures occurred in the middle of May instead of at the end of the month and peaked earlier in the day.
He said that temperatures are expected to drop close to the seasonal average as of Friday and go down further on Saturday when summer storms are also expected.