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WEATHER

Worst of heatwave yet to come as France braces for ‘terrible’ Tuesday

Highest summer temperatures yet are expected on Monday and Tuesday, as French met office issues weather warnings for 67 departments.

Worst of heatwave yet to come as France braces for 'terrible' Tuesday
Photo: Gerard Julien/AFP

France's heatwave is set to continue, with the hottest weather yet expected on Monday and Tuesday across the country.

On Monday, temperatures could soar up to around 40C according to France's national weather agency Météo France.

 

France's met office has issued heatwave weather warnings for 67 departments out of 101 in France – a record first reached in June last year – and has warned against storms in the country's southeast in the afternoon, Le Parisien reported.
 

 

 

“The heatwave continues tomorrow Monday, with very high temperatures which will be difficult to bear. Be careful of storms on the southeast in the afternoon with a risk of hail,” the weather forecaster wrote on Twitter.

On Monday, the hottest parts of France will be in the southwestern regions, with temperatures in some cities reaching 36C in Toulouse and 37C in Bordeaux.

 

On Tuesday, Paris and the country's northeast and centre will be the most affected by the heat, with Lyon and Paris sweltering under 36C.

 

Meteorologist Guillaume Séchet, creator of the site meteo-paris.com, is referring to Tuesday as a “terrible day with 38-39C in Ile-de-France and highs of 40C around Bourges and Auxerre”.

 

There will be a gradual decline in temperatures in the south-east of France on Tuesday but it will remain very hot.

 

Fortunately, the mercury is expected to drop considerably by Wednesday and Thursday.

 

“All of a sudden, we will lose 10C in 24 hours in the North and return to a more normal 23 to 24 C in the second half of the week,” Guillaume Séchet told Le Parisien. 

France's scorching weather is also causing air pollution levels to soar.

 

On Monday, traffic is being reduced in both Lyon and Paris to cut down on the smog with cars belonging to the most polluting category of vehicles being banned.

 

Similar measures were taken for three days in Paris in July.

 

Speed limits have also been lowered throughout the Ile de France region around Paris and in the east of the country.

Like much of Europe, France has been hit by a heatwave over the past week – which is already turning into the third hottest since temperatures have been recorded.

 

Last week, four nuclear reactors were forced to close in order to avoid raising the temperature of rivers whose water is used to cool reactors and then returned.

 

On Saturday, the southern town of Béziers in the Hérault department reached 41.3C. It was the hottest day in France since a deadly heatwave in 2003, that killed thousands of elderly people.

 

READ ALSO: 

 

Heatwave: What are the highest temperatures ever recorded in France? 

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Respite is on its way though as storms ushering in cooler weather are expected from Wednesday according to Météo France. 

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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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