France set for the hottest day of the year

Whether you’re on the French Riviera, the high Alps or even traditionally rainy Brittany, you’ll need your sun cream today as Thursday is set to be France's hottest day of the year so far with temperatures hitting 40°C in some regions.

France set for the hottest day of the year
France is set for the hottest day of the year so far. Photo: Bredgar/flickr

The entire France will be baked in sun on Thursday as a mini heatwave returns forcing authorities in Paris to check on the capital's most vulnerable of its elderly population.

The mercury is set to rise above 30°C right across the country from Normandy in the north to the Côte d’Azur in the south but it will be those in the south west of the country who might be advised to stay in the shade.

“Temperatures should reach 40°C in the south west, in the forest of Landes for example and will approach the record high in the region of between 42°C and 44°C,” said Jerôme Cerisier from the weather channel Météo France.

Strasbourg in the east should see the thermometer hit 34°C and Lille in Pas de Calais will bask in temperature of 36°C.

The Paris region of Ile de France will also see temperatures of 36°C and authorities have taken steps to try and alert vulnerable elderly population to take precautions against the heat.

Ten years after a deadly heatwave in France killed 15,000 mostly elderly people and brought shame on the country, authorities in the French capital have been proactive to avert any possible fatalities among its elderly population by launching its “Chalex” programme.

Around 1,000 of the city’s most vulnerable elderly, most of whom live alone, have been contacted by authorities.

“It’s rare. Normally in the Paris region we will only see temperatures rise above 35°C once a year, but on Thursday and Friday we will see two very hot days,” said Météo France forecaster Francois Jobard.

People are advised to drink water regularly, even when not thirsty, in order to remain hydrated and not to over-exert themselves during the day.

It is also wise to avoid any physical exersion 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.

According to Météo France July 2013 was the third hottest on record after 1983 and 2006 and with two days high temperatures forecast, August 2013 has already got off to a good start.

However storms are set to bring the mini heatwave to an abrupt end at the weekend and temperatures for the rest of the month are forecast to hover around 25°C in the north and 30°C in the south of the country.

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UPDATE: Swathes of France on alert for snow and ice as Siberian chill bites

French weather authorities have placed swathes of France on alert for snow and ice, violent winds and flooding as the big chill which has gripped the country in recent days drags on. But spring is just days away.

UPDATE: Swathes of France on alert for snow and ice as Siberian chill bites
The snow covered beach in Biarritz. Photo: AFP
Freezing weather continued to grip France on Wednesday, with temperatures down to -12C expected in northern France and -6C in the usually mild south, according to national weather agency Meteo France
In total, 58 departments in France are currently on orange alert — the second highest weather warning — for snow and ice, violent winds and flooding (see below). 
People in these departments have been advised to be very vigilant during the dangerous weather conditions. 
Map: Meteo France
Montpellier airport and Nimes airport in southern France are both closed as a result of the weather conditions. 
Biarritz in France's Basque country in the south west woke up to a blanket of snow several centimetres deep on Wednesday morning and people didn't waste any time capturing images of its snowy beaches (see below). 
Indeed, Tuesday night in France was the coldest of the winter, according to Meteo France, with the lowest temperatures seen in the central city of Lyon (-10C) and Metz in eastern France where it was an even chillier -12C. 

But while some are reveling in the unusual weather, others are struggling. 
Several flights flights out of Biarritz airport have been canceled and in Bayonne, also in the Basque Country, all lines have been suspended on the city's transport network. 
The town's beach, normally packed with sunseekers in the summer was left under a blanket of snow on Wednesday.
(Photo: François Xavier MENOU/Twitter)
A few brave swimmers braved the sea.
It was the same scene at snow-covered beach of Palavas Les Flots near Montpellier on the south coast (see images below).
On top of that the blanket of snow coating the A63 motorway, which leads to Spain, has led to several accidents. 
The Red Cross, which has set up emergency teams across Europe, also issued public appeals for 10,000 blankets in France, where about 50 local officials in the Paris region have vowed to spend Tuesday night outdoors to call attention to the plight of those with nowhere to sleep.
So far, four homeless people have died during this spell of icy weather. 
However the Siberian chill isn't set to last for long. 
After the snowfall spreads to the north of the country throughout the day on Thursday temperatures are expected to warm up quickly.
In the Basque country on Thursday, the snow will quickly be replaced by sun and the mercury is expected to rise to 17C.
Météo France forecaster Patrick Gallois said the rise in temperatures would be swift as France passes from winter to Spring in just 24 hours. Gallois told AFP that temperatures will rise by 10 degrees in just one day as the tweet below shows.
By Sunday the mercury is set to rise to around 15C in most of central and southern France.
Here are some more images of Biarritz in the snow.