As record-breaking heat continued to grip the island yesterday, thousands sought relief indoors with the air-conditioning on high, spiking record demand for electricity.
Streets in Nicosia early yesterday afternoon were deserted with the few people on Ledra Street outside only out of necessity.
"It is unbearable, I only came out because I had to and the heat makes me feel sleepy," said one passerby.
Sunday's temperature - 45.6 degrees Celsius -- was the highest recorded since the beginning of last century, the second highest was 44.4 degrees Celsius, recorded in Nicosia on August 8, 1956.The heat wave continued yesterday though temperatures were lower, reaching 42 degrees.
"When we say heat wave we do not simply mean maximum temperatures, but temperatures remaining within certain limits for two or three consecutive days," said Artemis Orfanou, a meteorological service official. "Our minimum temperatures are high, as well as humidity figures. All these conditions bring on the heat wave."
The spike in temperatures was especially felt inland and the mountain regions.
Maximum temperature in Nicosia on Sunday was 8.4 degrees higher than normal while minimum temperature reached 29 degrees - seven degrees higher than normal.
Prodromos, on the Troodos range, recorded a temperature of 36.1 degrees, 8.2 degrees above normal.
Humidity was also high across Cyprus.
In Larnaca it was over 95 per cent between 10 pm on Sunday and 8 am yesterday, though at some point it reached 100 per cent.
Relative humidity in Paphos on Sunday night reached between 80 and 85 per cent, while Limassol recorded 90 per cent.
At 9 am in Famagusta yesterday, humidity was 50 per cent compared to 78 per cent in Nicosia.
Orfanou said temperatures today are expected to reach over 40 degrees Celsius inland with tomorrow and Thursday dropping to close to normal for the season.
Sunday was a particularly unpleasant night for many who did not have air-conditioning.
"I thought it would be okay with a fan next to the bed but all it did was blow oven-like air into the room," said Nicosia resident Andreas Constantinou.
Maria Nicolaou's family hardly got any sleep.
"We could not sleep. We all got up at various stages during the night and were bumping into each other," Smith said. "I gave up even trying to sleep at 5am."
With people returning to work yesterday demand for electricity rose sharply.
The transmission system operator said yesterday recorded the highest demand for electricity so far for the year.
Demand at 2.30 pm reached 1,137MW - 40 per cent higher than the same period last year -- and was expected to reach1,150 MW if there was no improvement in conditions.
Maximum capacity is 1,332MW and the operator did not expect any problems regarding the supply.
The Labour Inspection Department yesterday announced that workers should not be exposed to direct sunlight between 12 pm and 4 pm.
Light work can be done in a shaded area with the supply of plenty of cool drinking water, the department said.
"It is a measure that employers must abide by," said Leandros Nicolaides, head of the department.
He added that this was not a legal measure but employers were obliged, if they do not follow it, to assess the dangers for their personnel and if work is justified outdoors they can do it.
"But you realise that it would be very difficult for them to prove such an operation under these conditions," Nicolaides said.
It was the first time the department has issued such an announcement this summer.
The recommendation did not do much for those working in hot conditions indoors.
"It was hard to breath, I was soaked to the bone," said one woman who works in the kitchens of a busy Nicosia restaurant. "We don't have air-conditioning, and the last few days have been the worst I've ever known."
To give the residents of the capital some relief, Nicosia Municipality has opened the doors of its Municipal Centre to those desperate for cooler temperatures and drinks.
The air conditioned premises are open to all, especially the vulnerable groups of society. The premises' kitchen will provide cold drinks until 5.30pm daily, until the heat wave recedes.
Deputy Mayor Soula Kolakidou more municipal areas will be opened if necessary.