Heatwave LATEST: France set for scorching Wednesday as Bordeaux records highest ever temperature

An unprecedented 81 out of France's 96 mainland départements had weather warnings in place on Tuesday afternoon as temperatures continue to rise. The south western city of Bordeaux recorded its highest ever temperature.

Heatwave LATEST: France set for scorching Wednesday as Bordeaux records highest ever temperature
Photo: AFP

French weather forecaster Météo France on Tuesday evening issued a further raft of weather warnings, meaning that just 15 French départements are not currently on a weather alert.

According to French newspaper Le Parisien, this is the first time that 81 départements have all been on a weather alert at the same time.

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Map: Météo France

One département – la Manche – was on alert for storms while neighbouring Mayenne, Orne, Calvados and Sarthe in the north of the country had a double warning for both high temperatures and storms. The rest of the warnings were for high temperatures as the heatwave continues.

Only the western tip of Brittany and a handful of areas in the south and east were excluded from the heatwave warnings as temperatures are expected to top June's record of 46C.

The southwestern French city of Bordeaux saw its highest ever temperature since records began of 41.2C on Tuesday, Meteo-France said.

The new record surpassed a previous all time high of 40.7C registered in August 2003.

Weather forecasters say they are expecting dozens of towns to top their all-time temperature records on Wednesday or Thursday.

In Paris the high temperatures have seen a spike in air pollution, leading city authorities to ban the majority of cars from the road. It is likely that the ban will continue until the end of the week.

The French government has also issued advice on how people can stay cool and avoid suffering from health problems during the heatwave.

But anyone suffering can at least take comfort from the fact that this is not expected to go on for long, and the weather is forecast to break at the weekend.

Nuclear shutdown

As the Tour de France reached its final week in the southeast of the country, ice foot baths and extra water points were on hand to avoid dehydration.

“In the third week of the Tour de France, I think heat like this could make the difference,” said Davide Bramati, head of sport for team Deceuninck, whose cyclist Julian Alaphilippe is currently leading the world-famous race.

French energy company EDF said it would temporarily shut down the two reactors at its Golftech nuclear power plant this week in the southern Tarn-et-Garonne department, in a bid to limit the heating of water used to keep reactors cool.

Reactor number 2 will shut down on Tuesday evening and number 1 on Wednesday, with both due to stay shut until July 30.

France is gearing up for a surge in electricity use this week, but the national electricity board said Monday that there will be enough supplies.

The government outlawed animal transportation “for economic reasons” between 1:00 pm and 6:00 pm in areas affected by heat alerts.

Cattle grazing on ski slopes

In Bordeaux, a host of charities accused the local prefecture of “putting more than 300 people out on the street” after evicting migrants from squats in May and July.

The heatwave has also caused water shortages in dozens of regions across France, with a drought raising concerns for farmers producing crops from potatoes to grapes.

In the Vosges mountains of eastern France, farmers have been forced to let their cattle graze pastures on what are ski slopes in winter in order to feed them.

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South west France on red alert for flooding

Five areas in south west France have been placed on a red weather alert for flooding as storms lash the region.

South west France on red alert for flooding
Storms are moving in to south west France over the Pyrenees. Photo: Anne-Christine Poujoulat/AFP

Météo France has placed five départements in south west France – Pyrénées-Atlantiques, Landes, Hautes-Pyrénées, Haute-Garonne and Ariège – on a red weather alert for heavy rains and flooding.

Extremely heavy rainstorms have hit the area, with a band of storm clouds travelling along the Pyrenees, bringing the risk of avalanches in the mountains and flooding in lowland areas.

The neighbouring département of Pyrénées-Orientale is on orange alert, along with the principality of Andorra. In the north, Aisne is also on orange alert for heavy rain.

Heavy rain is expected to continue throughout Monday, gradually easing off towards the evening, although the flood alerts remain in place until Tuesday.