July 12, 2007
ATHENS, Greece — A severe nine-day heat wave in Europe has broken 100-year temperature records. Throughout southern Europe and the Balkans, unusually high temperatures caused many deaths, including 29 in Romania where temperatures reached 113 degrees in Bucharest, the highest in 90 years.
Here in Greece, 11 people died and more than 50 were hospitalized due to the heat wave, in which temperatures soared to 116 degrees, the highest on record since 1897. Several deaths were noted in Italy, Turkey and Cyprus as well.
Most of the major cities in southeastern Europe were woefully unprepared for the record heat, running electricity on ancient power systems that cannot cope with such high temperatures.
Greece is an example. Here the majority of the electric power stations are 30 to 50 years old. During the worst days of the heat wave, the demand for electricity was 10,512 megawatts, essentially maxing out a system whose total capacity is 11,000 megawatts.
Nature has a way of continually surprising us and inspiring awe within us, and it seems there are just as many fantastical wonders t...