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July 24, 2007 05:58AM
http://www.nzherald.co.nz/section/story.cfm?c_id=26&objectid=10453187

Warnings sounded as Med melts in heat

ATHENS - Greece is now on a war footing against weather phenomena "the likes of which we have never seen", warns the country's Public Order Minister Byron Polydoras.

Polydoras was speaking as countries around the Mediterranean roasted, with temperatures soaring to "furnace levels", as one meteorologist described it.

Temperatures are likely to reach 43C in the shade this week, making this the hottest summer on record for Greece in the past century.

Macedonia has declared a state of emergency. Spain, Italy and France are experiencing droughts that are measuring up to become the worst on record.

According to the most recent bulletin from the French Government, the situation remains "preoccupying", with recent rain in the north failing to replenish subterranean reservoirs.

Many politicians now fear the Mediterranean coast may soon become too hot to sustain a viable tourist industry.

"The Mediterranean climate of this country no longer exists. It is changing, perhaps even faster than we expected," said Michalis Petrakis, director of Greece's Institute of Environmental Research at the National Observatory in Athens..........
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