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Sicily's temperature of nearly 120 degrees may be record for Europe

A fire is seen in the Ragusa area of Sicily, Italy, on Thursday. Firefighters are battling hundreds of blazes that are being aided by a heat wave. Photo by Francesco Ruta/EPA-EFE
A fire is seen in the Ragusa area of Sicily, Italy, on Thursday. Firefighters are battling hundreds of blazes that are being aided by a heat wave. Photo by Francesco Ruta/EPA-EFE

Aug. 12 (UPI) -- The World Meteorological Organization is trying to determine if Sicily set a new record Wednesday for the highest temperature ever recorded in Europe, with a temperature of 119.84 degrees Fahrenheit.

The temperature was recorded by the Sicilian Meteorological Information Service for Agriculture amid a prolonged heat wave.

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If the WMO confirms the temperature as a record, it will top the previous mark of 118.4 set in Athens, Greece, in 1977.

"We can't yet confirm or deny its validity," the WMO said in a Twitter post Thursday. "The WMO will seek to verify reports."

Lt. Col. Guido Guidi of Italy's Aeronautical Meteorological Service told The New York Times it may take some time to verify the record. He said data recorded by stations across the region need to be validated.

The hottest temperature ever recorded worldwide, according to the WMO, was set in Furnace Creek, Calif., in 1913 -- 134 degrees.

The mark in Sicily came a couple days after a United Nations climate change report said human-led increases in extreme weather conditions are unavoidable, but noted that there's still a small window open to dodge the worst effects.

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