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Southeast Europe heat wave seen as among worst in decades

A heat wave scorched southeast Europe on Thursday, sending residents flocking to the coast, public fountains and air-conditioned locations to find some relief.

Temperatures rose above 40 C (104 F) in parts of Greece and across much of the region. Weather experts in Athens said they expected the heat wave to extend into next week, making it one of the most severe recorded since the mid-1980s.

Cooling shelters were set up in the Greek capital, but access to the air-conditioned public spaces was limited by pandemic restrictions.

“The ongoing heat wave is a dangerous weather phenomenon, as it will last until the end of next week with a small temperature range between maximum and minimum levels,” said Theodoris Kolydas, director of Greece’s National Meteorological Service.

Authorities in Serbia, Bulgaria and other affected countries advised people to avoid exposure to direct sunlight in midday hours.

Wildfires in Greece threatened homes for a third successive day, with a blaze reported Thursday outside the western city of Patra.