Rhodes hit by 4.9 magnitude earthquake amid heat warning

The Greek island of Rhodes has been hit by a 4.9 magnitude earthquake - as a heat warning remains in force.

The Seismological Laboratory at the University of Athens and the United States Geological Survey confirmed the quake struck the popular tourist spot at about 8.20pm on Wednesday.

A spokesperson for the European-Mediterranean Seismological Centre (EMSC) told The Sun: "Based on the preliminary seismic data, the quake should not have caused any significant damage, but was probably felt by many people as light vibration in the area of the epicentre."

It comes amid Greece's first heatwave of the summer.

A heat warning was issued on Wednesday by the Mediterranean country's weather service until 8pm on Thursday.

Temperatures are expected to exceed 40C (104F) today in much of central and southern Greece, including greater Athens, the Cyclades islands and Crete.

Authorities in the Greek capital shut the Acropolis - the country's most popular ancient site which saw four million visitors last year - for a second afternoon due to the unseasonably high temperatures.

Meteorologists say the high temperatures are being driven by southerly winds bringing hot air and dust from North Africa.

Red Cross staff have been handing out bottles of water to tourists.

Primary schools and nurseries have been closed until Friday, when cooler temperatures are expected.

Officials are also on heightened alert for wildfires.

Vassilis Kikilias, the minister responsible for civil protection, said Thursday posed a particular wildfire risk due to the combination of high temperatures and winds.

The heatwave marks the latest in a series of major weather events for Greece - one of the most climate-impacted countries in Europe.

In August last year, the country saw the biggest wildfire recorded in the European Union for 23 years at Dadia National Park in Evros.

That came just a month after wildfires broke out on Rhodes. In total, 28 people died and more than 80 blazes were recorded.