RHMZ to issue heat wave, cold snap alerts

BELGRADE -- The Hydro-Meteorological Institute (RHMZ) will on May 1 start publishing alerts on its website on upcoming heat waves that could put people's health at risk.

(Tanjug)
(Tanjug)

The alerts will be published as part of an early warning system.

"We will issue four-day forecasts with a high level of accuracy, for ten days with a lower level of accuracy, for three months with a chance of heat wave conditions," Tanjug learned from Jasminka Smailagić, a senior official at the RHMZ Center for Climate Change.

The advisory bulletin for heat waves will be on the institute's website from May 1 to September 30, she said.

Underscoring that a more intensive climate change monitoring began in 1984, when it was noted that oscillations between heat waves and cold snaps became a characteristic of the Serbian climate, Smailagić said that heat waves are more frequent and longer.

"Previously, we had two-four heat waves during the entire year, and since 1984 - six to eight. Their average length was six-eight days, now eight-10 days, she said, adding that the longest heat wave was registered in 2007, lasting as many as 22 days without a break, with tropical nights.

Smailagić announced that the institute will also set temperature thresholds that are key to signaling cold snaps in the period from November 1 to late February.

The cold snap that took a tight grip on our country in 2012 even claimed human lives, she recalled.

The task force comprising experts on climate change and health warned earlier this year that Serbia is the only country in the region which does not have a protocol for proper conduct and health protection during heat and cold waves.

Upon the recommendation of the World Health Organization, Serbia is also preparing a national plan for adaptation to climate change, aimed at preventing and diminishing adverse effects on people's health.