It was so hot in the small Sicilian town of Floridia this week that the snails for which the region is known began burning in their shells, The New York Times reports.
Temperatures may have reached a sweltering 124 degrees on Wednesday, as a blistering heat wave that's been ravaging Italy and the surrounding areas for weeks hit its climax, writes the Times. As a result, snails were cooked inside their shells, unable to move as their feet burned to the hot ground. Meanwhile, lemons, farmed by field laborers, began quickly rotting, as orange trees sizzled in the heat.
"It's terrible for everybody, for the workers and the plants," said laborer Mario Pignato. "The damage is awful. We're not talking about a day or a few days, we're talking about months of heat and hot winds."
If and when the number is validated by international officials, Floridia's 124-degree peak would become "possibly the highest temperature ever recorded in Europe," the Times writes. Such frightening heat — punctuated by extreme weather events in both Greece and the Pacific Northwest — serves as an omen of what's to come for Italy and the Mediterranean, as well as a stark reminder of the ongoing threat from climate change.
"Floridia is now the center of the world when it comes to the climate," said the town's mayor, Marco Carianni. However, "when you take the broad view," added agriculture worker Viviana Pappalardo, "Europe is dying." Read more at The New York Times.