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19 French departments on orange alert as heatwave approaches peak

Western areas are most acutely affected by the heat, which will intensify tomorrow to up to 41C before breaking over the weekend

A map of the departments under heatwave alert and a picture of a hot sun

19 French departments are under an orange heatwave alert this afternoon Pic: Météo France / leestudio / Shutterstock

There are now 19 departments in western France on orange heat alert after Météo France’s latest update at 16:00 today (August 11). 

The departments are: Finistère, Morbihan, Loire-Atlantique, Vendée, Deux-Sèvres, Charente-Maritime, Charente, Gironde, Dordogne, Lot, Lot-et-Garonne, Landes, Gers, Tarn-et-Garonne, Tarn, Haute-Garonne, Hautes-Pyrénées, Pyrénées-Atlantiques and Haute-Vienne. 

A further 40 departments in northwestern, central and southeastern France are under yellow heatwave alerts. 

At 15:00 today, temperatures of 35-39C were being recorded across Nouvelle-Aquitaine, Vendée and Loire-Atlantique, as well as in the Rhône Valley and Occitanie.

In Gironde – where a reignited forest fire has burnt 6,800 hectares of land over the past two days – and Pyrénées-Atlantiques, temperatures are moving towards 40C.

Read more: Gironde fire update: 10,000 people evacuated, blaze still spreading

More northerly areas are seeing temperatures of 32-35C.

Tonight, the heat is not expected to fall below 18-21C in Brittany and 20-23C in more southerly regions.

Tomorrow (August 12) will be the hottest day of this heatwave, with temperatures of 38-40C and local spikes of 41C in Vendée and Nouvelle-Aquitaine, Occitanie and the Rhône Valley. 

Temperatures will remain high on Saturday, but then a stormy weather system will arrive from the west in the evening, causing a marked reduction in the heat on Sunday and bringing this hot episode to an end.

You can find out more on the Météo France website. 

This week’s heat is worsening concerns over drought, which are affecting almost the whole country, as well as the wildfires which have started up over the last few days in Gironde, Aveyron, Isère and beyond.

Related articles 

Water conflicts multiply in France as drought restrictions extended

MAP: How to see where wildfires are in France in real time

Faulty farm machinery investigated as cause of south of France fire

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