Turkey is expected to swelter in a record heatwave coming from North Africa on June 30, state-run Anadolu Agency has reported.
Meteorology authorities said the temperatures could rise to 40 Celsius degrees in the Turkish capital Ankara, 37C in Istanbul, 41C in the southern province of Adana and the Aegean province of İzmir, 42C in the Mediterranean province of Antalya, while 43C in the southeastern province of Diyarbakır, 44C in the Aegean province of Manisa, and 45C in the southeastern province of Şanlıurfa and the Aegean province of Aydın.
Officials also said temperature across Turkey would be 6 to 10 degrees above seasonal normal levels, adding that some provinces and districts would face record high temperatures.
Officials urged locals to avoid staying outdoors between 10:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m., adding that especially children, elderly and those with chronic illnesses should avoid direct exposure to sunlight.
They said the heat wave would be punctuated on July 3, beginning from the western provinces.
Locals who felt suffocated due to high temperatures flocked to seas and swimming pools across the country. In Şanlıurfa, one of the hottest provinces, the municipality announced that pools would be free of charge in the wake of the heatwave. Upon the news, children and many people rushed to swimming pools. But many children also swam in ponds in the city center, which is highly dangerous.
Children from Şanlıurfa’s rural areas also tried to cool down in irrigation channels.
“The weather is too hot. We try to cool down in these channels after working on fields,” some children from the Uğurlu neighborhood said.
Meanwhile, locals in Istanbul dived into the Bosphorus Strait to cool down.
“We swim along the shore of Arnavutköy [Istanbul district] to avoid the high temperatures. We feel extremely suffocated,” one local said.
The Turkish General Directorate of State Hydraulic Works in Adana tightened safety measures at irrigation channels to prevent drowning incidents.
The directorate has stretched ropes over the channels to aid locals in case they get dragged along the channel.
One local child said he learned swimming at one of those irrigation channels.
“If you do not know how to swim, you will drown and die. But if you know how to swim, these channels are very fun. We swim here for four to five hours every day. When police officers come, we hide under the bridge,” Mehmet Yılmaz, 14, said.
The governor’s office in the western province of Aydın announced that pregnant women and disabled people working in public institutions and organizations would be permitted to go on leave due to the forthcoming heatwave.