Storms to hit Paris and northern France

So much for the heatwave. Paris and several regions in the north of France were placed on alert for violent storms on Friday. At least those in the south of the country can continue to enjoy the sun.

Storms to hit Paris and northern France
Photo: AFP;Lyonsashello/Flickr
Just when you'd got your summer gear out of the closet, it might be time to add an umbrella.
Is that it for the heatwave in Paris and northern France?
Ile-de-France, Nord Pas-de-Calais and Picardie were place on “Orange Alert” – the second highest level of weather warning – with violent storms set to hit the region on Friday evening.
The country's meteorological service Météo France said that the warnings are to remain in place from 3pm on Friday until 10pm, with winds expected to reach up to 100km/h. 
Vigilance Orange means the public should take particular precaution when outside as they could be at risk of falling trees and pylons. It added that the public should be wary of lightning, and that thet should also keep up to date with the changing situation.
Weather agency MéteoConsult, meanwhile, forecast that the rest of northern France can expect a wet afternoon on Friday (see map below). 
Those in the south, however, can breathe easy, with more warm weather continuing. Indeed, temperatures could reach as high as 35C in some areas – almost enough to constitute a heat wave.
If you're in France and need a place to either escape the heat or enjoy the sun, be sure to check out our list of the top ten beaches in the country. 

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Scorching summer was France’s second hottest on record

Three heatwaves since June produced France's second-hottest summer since records began in 1900, the Météo France weather service said on Tuesday, warning that scorching temperatures will be increasingly common as the climate crisis intensifies.

Scorching summer was France's second hottest on record

With 33 days of extreme heat overall, average temperatures for June, July and August were 2.3C above normal for the period of 1991-2020.

It was surpassed only by the 2003 heatwave that caught much of France unprepared for prolonged scorching conditions, leading to nearly 15,000 heat-related deaths, mainly among the elderly.

Data is not yet available for heat-related deaths this summer, but it is likely to be significantly lower than 15,000 thanks to preventative measures taken by local and national authorities. 

Most experts attribute the rising temperatures to the climate crisis, with Météo France noting that over the past eight summers in France, six have been among the 10-hottest ever.

By 2050, “we expect that around half of summer seasons will be at comparable temperatures, if not higher,” even if greenhouse gas emissions are contained, the agency’s research director Samuel Morin said at a press conference.

The heat helped drive a series of wildfires across France this summer, in particular a huge blaze in the southwest that burned for more than a month and blackened 20,000 hectares. 

Unusually, wildfires also broke out even in the normally cooler north of the country, and in total an area five times the size of Paris burned over the summer. 

Adding to the misery was a record drought that required widespread limits on water use, with July the driest month since 1961 – many areas still have water restrictions in place.

MAP: Where in France are there water restrictions and what do they mean?

Forecasters have also warned that autumn storms around the Mediterranean – a regular event as air temperatures cool – will be unusually intense this year because of the very high summer temperatures. A storm that hit the island of Corsica in mid August claimed six lives. 

“The summer we’ve just been through is a powerful call to order,” Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne said on Monday, laying out her priorities for an “ecological planning” programme to guide France’s efforts against climate change.