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Originally published June 26, 2007 at 12:00 AM | Page modified June 28, 2007 at 4:21 PM

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Southern Europe sizzles in heat wave; Greece warns against unnecessary travel

A heat wave gripping southeast Europe has killed at least 30 people in Romania and prompted warnings against travel in parts of Greece where...

A heat wave gripping southeast Europe has killed at least 30 people in Romania and prompted warnings against travel in parts of Greece where temperatures have soared to 115 degrees, officials said today.

In Romania, the latest deaths were of elderly people who died of breathing or heart problems brought on by the heat which hit 106 degrees, the health ministry said.

In Greece, where the scorching weather has killed five people in the past two days, air conditioning systems working flat out pushed energy consumption towards an all-time high, and state offices closed early at noon to conserve power supplies.

Temperatures soared to 115 Fahrenheit in some parts of the country on Monday, and authorities expected the heat wave to continue for at least another three days, making this Greece's hottest June ever.

In Greece, with memories of a 1987 heat wave that killed hundreds, health officials said unnecessary travel should be avoided (for the next few days.)

"We have 100 ambulances stationed and on full alert in the capital," emergency services chief Nikos Papaefstathiou said.

In western Turkey, a 60-year-old man collapsed on a beach and later died in hospital as temperatures there topped 111 degrees. Turkey's western regions reduced working hours for state officials and authorities urged the elderly and children to stay at home, out of the heat.

Temperatures in the southern Italian city of Bari reached 113 degrees Fahrenheit, while the Sicilian capital of Palermo hit 108 degrees. Dozens of forest fires have broken out in southern Italy.

Material from the Associated Press and Reuters is included in this report.

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