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Short-lived heatwave interrupted by storms

Matthew Warren · 28 Jun 2011, 07:13

Published: 28 Jun 2011 09:08 GMT+02:00
Updated: 28 Jun 2011 07:13 GMT+02:00

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France experienced its hottest day of the year yesterday with temperatures above 30˚C in most parts of the country.

Highs reached 36˚C in Paris and Nantes, 35˚C in Toulouse and 39˚C in Bordeaux, a record for June. May was already the hottest month for over 100 years.

The heat prompted newspapers and TV programmes to give advice on how to cope. Excessive temperatures prompt anxiety in France after the disastrous heatwave of 2003 when 14,802 died as a result of the high temperatures. Many of these were older people who were not used to the heat and were unprepared. 

The high number of deaths caused controversy in France and strained public health resources. A refrigerated warehouse outside Paris was needed to store the bodies as there were not enough spaces in funeral parlours. 


In Paris, commuters became exasperated yesterday as line C of the RER train network stopped running after problems with electric power lines.


Overheated passengers stuck on trains eventually got out and walked on the tracks to try to cool down, causing further disruptions.


One passenger, Anne, told Le Parisien they had got out "so we could breathe. People weren't feeling well and there was no information. It's a scandal."


Another, stuck in a train, sent a message to the newspaper saying "We've been stuck in a train for an hour. The SNCF won't help us so can you alert the emergency services?"


Temperatures were expected to fall significantly on Tuesday as thunder storms arrive from the west.


Dominique Raspaud, forecaster with Météo France, told L'Express "by Wednesday we will see temperatures drop back to normal across France".

Matthew Warren (news.france@thelocal.com)

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