ATHENS, Greece -- Greek meteorologists warned on Thursday that the country will experience an intense and prolonged heat wave in the next ten days.
According to the Hellenic National Meteorological Service (EMY), temperatures could reach 44 degrees Celsius in mainland Greece.
The heat wave is expected to peak early next week, but will continue until Friday, Aug. 6.
"On the mainland, the maximum temperatures in the next three days will range between 42 degrees Celsius and 44 degrees Celsius, while on the islands and in coastal areas it will be two or three degrees lower," the EMY said.
Night-time temperatures are expected to average 28 degrees Celsius in most areas.
"The ongoing heat wave is a dangerous weather phenomenon with a small temperature range between maximum and minimum levels," said EMY Director Theodoris Kolydas.
Over the coming weekend, the heat wave from northern Africa may send the mercury rising in Greece to 44 degrees Celsius in some parts of the country, according to the EMY.
This will be the second prolonged heat wave in Greece this summer after the one in June that lasted 11 days and, according to experts, was the worst since 2007.
Civil protection authorities have called for vigilance this week, urging the elderly and children to hydrate regularly and avoid unnecessary sun exposure. There is also a high risk of wildfires in several parts of the country, the EMY said.
In July 1987, nearly 1,500 people died following one of the worst heat waves in Greek history. Temperatures had hovered around 43 degrees Celsius in Athens for several days in a row.