An exceptional heat wave is spreading over France

(Paris) 35-39°C, even 40°C in some places: France will hit an exceptional heatwave early into the weekend, a taste of a future climate with more costly human and economic consequences.

Posted at 6:36 am
Updated at 8:00 am.

Amelie Butler Dubois
France media agency

With the arrival of hot air from the Maghreb through Spain, which is already suffocating, the southwest will be affected first Tuesday by temperatures between 34 and 36 degrees Celsius, according to Météo-France. Temperatures are expected to rise above 40 degrees Celsius locally in this region later in the week.

This heat wave should also reach the northern half, with between 30°C and 35°C on Friday and Saturday.

An unmistakable sign of global warming, heat waves are multiplying and intensifying all over the world.

Emphasizing “full mobilization”, French Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne announced a meeting on Tuesday with governors and regional health agencies, to make sure “all devices are in place”.

Its spokeswoman, Olivia Gregoire, stated that the government would set up a €500 million fund for “rehabilitation”. In the face of “this large, strong, early and unprecedented wave in this period,” the executive branch called for “vigilance and measures to accelerate preparedness for the consequences of climate change,” as announced in the Cabinet findings.

“We are already ready,” a SNCF spokesperson confirmed, while the rail company must monitor chains and rails, which fear high heat, equip oars and stockpile hundreds of thousands of water bottles. Every summer hoping not to do passengers stumble into an unknown location under the sun.

The country already experienced more exceptional temperatures in June. The absolute record for mainland France goes back to June 2019, with 46°C in the shade at Vérargues (south) but it was June 28.

“It’s the first time we’ve seen a heat wave so early and we could reach 40 degrees Celsius for the first time so early in the season,” Olivier Prost, a forecast expert at Mito France, told AFP on Tuesday.

Exacerbation of the early character of living organisms. He points out that “the length of the day is longer and therefore the cold period is shorter,” noting also the consequences for schools that remain open, which did not happen in July and August.

This heat wave comes after a particularly hot and dry spring that has brought drought to much of France, threatening crops and creating conditions for fires.

36 departments have implemented water use restrictions.

“Summer of All Dangers”

And while Météo-France is counting on a hot and dry summer as well, French firefighters union spokesman Eric Brocardi warned of a “summer full of dangers”.

On Monday, the Gard (south) region has already seen several major fires, including the burning of 60 floors in one of the largest campsites in Europe.

Strong temperature forecasts are especially risky for the elderly, at-risk people or infants, but also for those working outdoors.

In Occitanie, on public works sites, companies have implemented special measures, with flexible working hours, more frequent breaks, water bottles available to workers, etc.

In cities, impermeable roofs store solar energy. And during the night, these buildings, asphalt roads, and sidewalks release accumulated heat into the air, turning urban centers into real radiators.

Météo-France describes this episode as a “heat wave”, which corresponds to high temperatures for several consecutive days (the national thermal index should reach at least 25.3°C in one day during the episode, and be above 23.4°C for the at at least three days and not less than 22.4 °C once.

But the “heat wave” threshold, which takes into account the danger that day and night heat poses to residents, is likely to be reached in several divisions on Thursday.

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