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French mayor ‘officially’ orders rain to stop falling in his region

A French mayor who is fed up of the large amount of rainfall in his town has attempted to order the sun to shine using his powers as an elected official.

French mayor 'officially' orders rain to stop falling in his region
Photo: AFP
There's no doubt that France has had a soggy winter, with floods leaving many areas recognised as 'disaster' zones and most of the country eagerly waiting for the blue skies of spring. 
 
In fact, France hasn't seen as much rain in December and January since the rain gauges were set up in 1959, the country's weather service confirmed at the end of January.
 
And Serge Rondeau, Mayor of the village of Challans in France's western Vendée region has decided to take matters into his own hands. 
 
On Thursday the Challans Town Hall Twitter account posted a symbolic order imposing sunshine all day from Monday to Sunday and only allowing three nights of rainfall a week. 
 
 
The document, stamped and signed by the mayor himself, goes into detail regarding his motives. 
 
The document cites three reasons for the order: “It has rained sufficiently during the day, the health of citizens relies on the amount of sunshine” and “the chocolate overdose risk due to the lack of sunshine.” 
 
It goes on to say that the sun is “obliged to appear every morning from Monday to Sunday in Challans and throughout the Vendée.”
 
The rain is allowed just “three nights a week to maintain the level of groundwater.”
 
And while the order might have been a joke, France has suffered serious damage due to flood waters in recent weeks. 
 

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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