27 June, 2007
Practically all of Greece experienced near or above 40C (104F) weather conditions on Tuesday, with the country bracing for another scorching day on Wednesday before temperatures begin sliding on Thursday ahead of a distinctly cooler, according to forecasts, weekend.
Beyond health worries due to the heat -- three deaths of elderly people were directly linked to the high temperatures -- authorities were on high alert for wildfires and problems with the power grid. Monday's power consumption neared record levels, whereas short interruptions in power were reported in several Athens districts on Tuesday by the state-run electricity utility (PPC).
PPC said daily consumption on Monday exceeded 10,000 MW, with a new all-time record of 10,700 MW feared for Wednesday, a figure that is expected to tax the country's power grid and generation capacity.
To conserve power, the government also ordered state offices and agencies to close at 12 noon, both on Tuesday and Wednesday. Conversely, municipalities around the country were expected to keep nursery schools and other air conditioned halls open for people without A/Cs at home.
Finally, in a bid to cool off heat-stricken residents, the tourism ministry announced that several organised beaches in the greater Athens area will stay open until 11 p.m. this week.
Source: Athens News Agency