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30,000 Flee Rhodes as Greece Battles Dozens of Wildfires; Italy Hit by Ice Storms After Record Heat

HeadlineJul 24, 2023

Climate scientists have confirmed the first half of July marked the hottest two weeks in recorded human history — and there are no signs that the summer of climate extremes is set to end any time soon. In Greece, evacuations are underway from the fire-scorched island of Corfu. This follows the largest mass evacuation in Greek history as some 30,000 people fled what survivors described as “hellish” wildfires in Rhodes in recent days. European holiday-goers who spent nights on the floors of airports and emergency shelters described harrowing scenes.

Helen Pickering: “Smoke had been traveling over our pool for quite some time at the Princess Sun Hotel. And it was just getting worse and worse, and we started to hear the helicopters. And then, basically, you could see the fire, eventually, on the mountaintop. Panic, everyone dashing about, fleeing for buses.”

At least 82 wildfires are blazing across Greece during this summer’s unprecedented heat wave, displacing thousands of people and burning down homes.

In Italy, record-breaking heat was followed Friday by a fierce hail storm in the north, where ice the size of tennis balls fell on the streets of Seregno, just north of Milan, inundating the streets in icy floodwaters.

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