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Heat Wave Broils Southeast Europe

July 11, 2000

ATHENS, Greece (AP) _ Scorching heat claimed more lives, rekindled fires and closed sweltering offices across southeast Europe Tuesday, and forecasters said the heat wave will continue to the weekend.

In Switzerland, an unusual cold snap brought snow to Alpine passes, forcing at least one to close to allow snowplows to clear 12 miles of road.

But it was a different weather story in Greece, where firefighters managed to extinguish more than 150 wildfires, but were still battling to put out a blaze on the resort island of Samos.

A weeklong heat wave in the region was expected to peak Wednesday with temperatures forecast to reach a high of 109. The mercury was expected to drop into the high 70s or 80s by Friday, the national weather service said.

On the Mediterranean island of Cyprus, the heat wave is blamed for the death of Greek-American Louise-Marie Roussou, 62, who suffered a heart attack. That brought to five the number of heat-related deaths since the weekend, authorities said.

Tuesday’s temperatures reached 106 in the shade in Nicosia. There are fears a prolonged heat wave could trigger the same deadly effects as August 1998 when a record hot spell claimed some 60 lives.

In Turkey, the government ordered state offices shut down for two days this week after meteorologists predicted more intense heat in the coming days.

Temperatures in the heat wave have surpassed 104 across much of Turkey _ well above seasonal averages. At least 12 people have died, including two on Tuesday, in heat-related incidents.

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