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Mercury rising: Heatwave set to hit France

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Mercury rising: Heatwave set to hit France
Children cool down in the southern French city of Montpellier. Temperatures are expected to reach as high as 38° during next week's heat wave. Photo: Pascal Guyot/AFP
10:53 CEST+02:00
After all the gloomy predictions of a summer wash out France is basking under the sun, and the mercury is set to rise even further with a heat wave set to hit the country next week.

Just weeks ago the doom merchants predicted that the summer of 2013 would be another damp squib. After a cold winter and a spring which saw record low temperatures in some parts of France, most people had already written off the chances of seeing the sun this summer.

But with temperatures already into the 30s, the school holidays in full swing, and Paris about to be turned into one big beach, the summer  we had hoped for is well and truly here.

And the good news, or the bad news, is that it's only going to get hotter, according to forecasters.

A heat wave which currently has the UK in its grip, is set to hit France on Monday. 

Forecasters from France's weather site Meteo News say temperatures across the country, which are already two degrees higher than normal, will rise further next week.

In the northern half of France, the mercury could hit 36°C and in the south it is predicted to reach 38°C during next week's heat wave.

French weather channel La Chaine Meteo says the heat wave, known as a "canicule" in France could last until next Friday, after which "cooler air will arrive from the west". The end of the episode is likely to see fierce thunderstorms, La Chaine Meteo predicts.


This map from La Chaine Météo shows the current weather situation in France (left) and
next week's forecast for severe heat to envelop the country (right).

Every summer when there is talk of a "canicule" in France, it sparks fears of a repeat of the infamous summer of 2003 when around 15,000 people, mostly elderly, died as temperatures soared.  

Most victims died alone in their homes, after being left unchecked and unable to fend for themselves.

Families were still finding their bodies weeks later when they went to visit their elderly relatives. The national tragedy sparked a period of soul searching in France over the state of its health care and its treatment of the elderly population.

Once again authorities are issuing advice on what to do in the sweltering weather.

People are advised to drink water regularly, even when not thirsty, in order to remain hydrated. It is also wise to avoid any physical exertion and try to cool down as often as possible by taking cold showers.

The general advice is to keep the air conditioning on during the day and get the windows open at night.

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