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Italy issues red alert heatwave warnings in 19 cities

Heatwave in Italy to be replaced by storms and sharp drop in temperatures next week.

Italy's health ministry has issued a red alert warning for 19 major cities on Friday as the current 'Nerone' heatwave draws to an end, with temperatures set to drop from Saturday.

The 19 Italian cities included in the level-three heat warning on Friday are: Bari, Bologna, Bolzano, Brescia, Campobasso, Florence, Frosinone, Genoa, Latina, Milan, Naples, Perugia, Rieti, Rome, Turin, Trieste, Venice, Verona and Viterbo.

On Saturday the red alert drops from 19 to 16 cities: Ancona, Bari, Bologna, Bolzano, Brescia, Campobasso, Florence, Frosinone, Latina, Messina, Perugia, Rieti, Rome, Trieste, Venice and Verona.

Italy's bollino rosso alert indicates emergency conditions with possible negative effects on not just the elderly, sick or very young, but also on healthy and active people.

The heatwave is set to be replaced next week by the 'Poppea' cyclone of thunderstorms, with the risk of heavy hail showers, and a sharp drop in temperatures, according to IlMeteo weather forecast site.

The storms will first hit the north of Italy, where temperatures are set to fall by up to 15°C, before moving to central regions of the country, reports IlMeteo.

In addition to sweltering heat, many parts of Italy are currently experiencing an intense humidity or afa, a muggy air that typically occurs in August.

The health ministry guidelines to help people cope with heatwave conditions include a recommendation to avoid exposure to the sun and outdoor activity in the middle of the day.

People are advised to drink plenty of water, eat lightly and preserve their medication properly, as well as paying particular attention to the wellbeing of babies, children, the elderly and pets.

Tourists walking around Rome can avail of the ubiquitous nasoni drinking fountains but should note that the city's historic fountains are off-limits, no matter how hot it gets, with fines of €450 for those caught entering the waters.

This summer Italy launched the 1500 helpline to provide useful tips on how to deal with the heat as well as information about social and health services available around the country.

For heatwave details see health ministry website. This article was updated on Friday 25 August.

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