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WEATHER

Heatwave: What temperatures can we expect this week in France?

As we get into August the very hot weather continues, with heatwave warnings for some parts of France and storms in other regions - here's what we can expect this week.

Heatwave: What temperatures can we expect this week in France?
A woman walks down a street pulling her cart during a heatwave in Bordeaux. Photo by ROMAIN PERROCHEAU / AFP

Monday

The week begins relatively cool (for August, that is) in most parts of France, with only two départements – Gard and Vaucluse in the south – on orange alert for heatwaves.

Temperatures in Gard and Vaucluse will climb to around 38C and the temperatures will stay hot through the nights, predicts French weather forecaster Météo France.

Tuesday and Wednesday

The heat warnings will gradually spread north throughout the week, with more départements expected to be placed on orange alert as the week goes on. 

The high temperatures – spread by a hot plume travelling north – are predicted to reach the Loire Valley by Tuesday and then spread north and east to Burgundy and the greater Paris region on Wednesday and Thursday.

Thursday

By Thursday most of France will be experiencing temperatures of 35C-38C, with only the northern coastline expected to remain under 30C.

Friday

Temperatures are predicted to drop slightly on Friday, but it will remain hot on Friday and Saturday, especially in the south with the départements of Aude, Pyrénées-Orientales, Gard and Hérault predicted to be the hottest places.

Sunday

Thunderstorms are predicted to hit the country on Sunday, particularly along the south coast and the island of Corsica, where heavy rainstorms could cause flash flooding.

Drought

The drought continues and all of France is now on some level of alert with water restrictions imposed in many areas.

MAP: Where in France are there water restrictions and what do they mean?

Experts at Météo France say that even the thunderstorms are unlikely to ease the situation.

Most of France remains on high alert for forest fires because of the exceptionally dry landscape. 

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ENVIRONMENT

France opens up first offshore windfarm – but will more follow?

President Emmanuel Macron inaugurated France’s first offshore windfarm off the coast of Saint-Nazaire on Thursday as he seeks to accelerate renewable energy supply and improve energy security.

France opens up first offshore windfarm - but will more follow?

The 80 turbines will enter full service by the end of the year, and Macron has previously set a goal of about 50 offshore windfarms “providing up to 40 gigawatts” in service by 2050.

Following the belated inauguration of the country’s first offshore windfarm, another at Fécamp is due to start generating power in 2023. Sites in Saint-Brieuc, Fécamp and Courseulles-sur-Mer are set to enter service in 2024.

But France has a long way to go to meet the President’s target, and to catch up with its European neighbours. Before the Saint-Nazaire wind farm (‘parc éolien’ – en français), France had only one floating offshore wind farm off the coast of Le Croisic.

At Thursday’s inauguration event, Macron was to set out the “main lines” of a bill to accelerate France’s renewable energy programme, which will be presented to the Council of Ministers on Monday, September 26th.

READ ALSO France generates electricity from offshore wind farm for the first time

There is no doubt that renewable energy production in France is accelerating. On top of the 80 offshore turbines at Saint-Nazaire, just under 9,000 onshore turbines are currently producing electricity in France – eight years ago, around half that number of land-based turbines were operational. 

The first turbines in France were only installed in the 1990s – by which time countries like Germany and Denmark already had large-scale operations in place. 

More turbines would be in operation now in France, but for the lengthy planning process and appeals against projects, which have delayed construction for several years.

Hauts-de-France and Grand-Est, account for 50 percent of the wind-produced power in France. Île-de-France, Provence-Alpes-Côte-d’Azur, and Corsica lag behind the other regions.

READ MORE: Energy shortages: What’s the problem with France’s nuclear industry?

In 2020, wind produced just eight percent of its electricity from wind, behind hydroelectric stations, while nuclear power generated nearly 70 percent of the country’s electricity.

Wind power accounted for 20 percent of electricity generation in Germany and Spain, while the UK was at 30 percent in 2020, Portugal produced 40 percent, and Denmark’s windfarms met 60 percent of the country’s electricity needs.

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