France basks in record August highs

France's meteorological office maintained orange alerts in 34 departments as temperatures climbed to record highs in some areas on Sunday, beating previous highs set in the deadly heatwave of 2003.

France basks in record August highs
Photo: Flickr

The recent heat wave pushed to new highs on Sunday with temperatures exceeding 40 degrees Celsius during the night. New record highs were seen on Sunday in Burgundy, Jura and the Alps, according to a report in the Metro daily. 

The mercury hit 41.5 degrees Celsius in Châtillon-sur-Seine (Côte d'Or), 40.3 in Mathaux l'Etape (Aube) and 34.1 à Mouthe (Doubs), the town which holds the record winter low.

The Alpine resorts of Val d'Isère (1850m), l'Alpe d'Huez (1860m) and l'Aiguille du Midi (3500m) recorded temperatures of 28.3, 27.3 and 13.4 respectively.

Paris was basking in 39 degree Celsius highs, while thermometers in Vichy peaked at 40.2 degrees.

The temperatures passed the previous records set in the heat wave of 2003, the hottest on record since at least 1540, and which claimed the lives of almost 15,000 people.

"We have never experienced such a strong heat wave post-August 15th," Météo France meteorologist Etienne Kapikan told the AFP news agency.

Météo France has forecast that with clouds bringing in rain from the west, temperatures are expected to ease off slightly on Monday and the "Maghreb" heatwave is expect to ease off by Wednesday.

While the 2003 heatwave claimed thousands of lives, no deaths have so far been connected to the high temperatures this year.

The level two orange weather alert however remained in place in 34 departments on Monday morning.

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South west France on red alert for flooding

Five areas in south west France have been placed on a red weather alert for flooding as storms lash the region.

South west France on red alert for flooding
Storms are moving in to south west France over the Pyrenees. Photo: Anne-Christine Poujoulat/AFP

Météo France has placed five départements in south west France – Pyrénées-Atlantiques, Landes, Hautes-Pyrénées, Haute-Garonne and Ariège – on a red weather alert for heavy rains and flooding.

Extremely heavy rainstorms have hit the area, with a band of storm clouds travelling along the Pyrenees, bringing the risk of avalanches in the mountains and flooding in lowland areas.

The neighbouring département of Pyrénées-Orientale is on orange alert, along with the principality of Andorra. In the north, Aisne is also on orange alert for heavy rain.

Heavy rain is expected to continue throughout Monday, gradually easing off towards the evening, although the flood alerts remain in place until Tuesday.