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WEATHER

Spring is in the air: France set for warmest day of year so far

After a winter that brought severe floods and heavy snow to large swathes of the country, France finally welcomes spring on Friday, when the country will enjoy the warmest day of the year so far.

Spring is in the air: France set for warmest day of year so far
Map: Meteo France
France will enjoy its warmest day of the year on Friday with the mercury reaching levels more akin to mid May than early April.
 
Temperatures are set to double within 24 hours in some parts of the country which means spring is finally here. 
 
On Friday, the sun is set to shine almost everywhere in France and in many places temperatures are expected to be above the average temperatures of the season, according to France's national weather agency Meteo France
 
That means that in some places in France, the temperatures will double (or almost) in 24 hours. 
 
France weather map for Friday 2 pm – 5 pm. Meteo France
 
In Paris, temperatures will soar to highs of 20C on Friday afternoon. 
 
In Lille, for example, the mercury will shoot up to 17C on Friday afternoon after people in the northern city experienced a chilly 9C just a day earlier.
 
 
Elsewhere in the country, with the exception of the tip of Brittany and the shores of the Mediterranean, temperatures will rise by 5C to 8C degrees. 
 
France weather map for Friday 5 pm – 8 pm. Meteo France
 
On the French Riviera, the morning is set to be cloudy but the sun will break through in the afternoon.
 
However there will be some showers around the Garonne river in south west France and Toulouse and its surrounding area can also expect wind. 
 
And the really good news is that this time it looks like the higher temperatures are here to stay. 
 
The mercury is set to remain high across the country on Saturday, with highs of 19C in the greater Paris region of Ile-de-France and 21C in the French Alps, although rain is expected to hit the western parts of France. 
 
Meanhile temperatures are expected to drop — but just slightly — in most of France with rain forecast for much of the west coast, central regions and the French Riviera. 

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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