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WEATHER

Is this what summer in France is going to look like?

If you are hoping a wet spring would herald a sunny summer in France, don't get your hopes up, it seems.

Is this what summer in France is going to look like?
Is this what summer in France is going to be like? Photo: AFP
Summer officially arrived with the summer solstice falling on 20th June this year, marking the end of spring and the start of those much anticipated summer months.
 
Sunny blue skies, long warm evenings… Surely France deserves a bit of sun to cheer everyone up after months of endless rain and flooding.
 
However, this doesn't look to be the case. If the weather in the coming days offer us a glimpse of the summer season, the forecast for the next two months is mixed.

This week finally brought a taste of summer and sunny skies for almost all of France. The sun came out in Paris for what felt the first time since 1789.

Everywhere but the north west experienced beautiful weather on Wednesday. Photo: Météo France

The glorious weather is due to continue over the weekend, with temperatures in the south east set to reach up to 35C, according to newspaper Le Parisien.

Météo France's forecaster Gaetan Heymes advises that the public should make the most of the fine weather in the coming days because there’s no guarantee it will return.

Méteo France talks of a “huge cold anomaly on the North Atlantic Ocean” – so in short prepare for an unpredictable summer.

(Blue= colder than usual, grey= about normal, red= hotter than usual)

That’s bad news for sun seekers who still remember with fondness last year’s scorching summer, when the sun was always out.

“Unlike last year when there was heatwave conditions across France, this summer we know there will be a strong contrast between the north and the south,” Heymes told L’Express news site.

So while the south should be well baked in sun, the north will be wetter and cooler. Although the odd heatwave may travel up from the south coast, he said.

The normal average summer temperature for Paris is 24C, although last year the mercury rose 4C above the average.

“We already know that it won’t be the same this year,” said Hermes.

Luckily however he believes that even though summer storms are forecast France won’t see the kind of devastating flooding witnesses at the end of May and the beginning of June.

French weather site La chaine meteo describes the summer of 2016 as “atypical”, which cannot be good news. The site predicts: “recurring thunderstorms across the southern part of France”.

Olivier Proust on the other hand, also from Météo France, seemed more optimistic. He told French news channel BFMTV: “There is no established correlation between a cold rainy spring and a summer that will be the same”.

(According to la chaine meteo, this summer is 60% likely to be “very stormy, quite hot”. Photo: Lachainemeteo.fr)

But the only positive point as raised by weather journalist Laurent Cabrol is that “long term weather forecasts are 60-65 percent reliable”. 

So you never know.

Fingers crossed.

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CLIMATE CRISIS

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.

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