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25°C in the north, 30°C in the south: Hot weather arrives in France

The heat could last into next week, intensifying the drought threat looming over the country

France is set to experience hot, sunny weather this week Pic: AlinaMD / Shutterstock

Temperatures are expected to be high in France for at least the first half of this week, as an anticyclone moves over the country from the Azores, bringing with it a hot and dry subtropical air mass.

Between today (Monday, May 9) and Thursday, the northern half of the country is predicted to see temperatures of 25-28°C, while the southern half will reach 27-31°C.

French weather forecasting service Chaîne Météo has stated that Tuesday and Wednesday should be the warmest days of the week, with the southwestern departments of Landes and Gironde seeing the hottest temperatures. 

It will be around 28°C in Paris – 8°C higher than the average for this time of year. 

“The temperatures may feel like they are reaching 30-35°C across two thirds of the country because of humidity,” Chaîne Météo added. 

However, “the evenings will remain very pleasant,” so distinguishing this episode from a canicule heatwave, which is characterised by high nighttime temperatures. 

From Thursday, the weather is expected to cool slightly with “the arrival of air coming from the ocean,” which could also bring some stormy showers with it.

However, next weekend anticyclonic conditions are expected to return, meaning that temperatures are likely to rise once again.

If the heat persists into next week, meteorologists will be able to class this early summer snap as an episode which is “exceptional in terms of its duration” and because it is “spread across numerous regions” Chaîne Météo has said.

Météo France forecaster Patrick Galois told Franceinfo: “We are talking about a hot spell which is notable for the season, and could last for a while. 

“But we do not currently have all the information which would tell us whether these temperatures will last into next week.” 

Mr Galois added that it is difficult to know whether the high temperatures are linked to climate change, saying: “This type of hot spell has already been observed in the past at this time of year. 

“In Paris, the record for the month of May was 35°C in 1944. 

“But it is true that this type of episode could arrive earlier in the year and last for longer because of climate change.” 

High drought risk this summer 

Another French weather service, Météo Villes, has warned that there is a “risk of drought and of a canicule heatwave over summer 2022 in France,” because the country is experiencing a marked rain deficit. 

Read more: French firefighter pilots plan strike ahead of ‘worryingly’ dry summer

“This chronic lack of rain is causing an already visible dryness in several regions,” it added. 

This will be accentuated by the week’s hot weather, which will accelerate evapotranspiration and further dry out the ground. 

Specific areas of around 10 French departments have already been placed under drought alerts, as the rain deficit reached 35% on average across the country.

Drought alerts are currently affecting parts of: Maine-et-Loire, Vienne, Deux-Sèvres, Charente-Maritime, Charente, Ain, Drôme, Alpes-Maritimes, Bouches-du-Rhône and Vaucluse, where the rain deficit is at 70%.

When a drought alert is introduced, residents in the area are required to reduce the amount of water they use for non-essential purposes such as washing cars, watering gardens or filling swimming pools. 

Read more: Water restrictions begin in several areas of France after dry winter

Farmers must also limit their water usage by a certain percentage. 

You can find specific details on the areas affected by drought alerts on the government’s Propluvia website.

On April 29, the government announced that water agencies would be allowed to spend €100million more to help farms adapt to climate change and develop water reserves. 

Hydrologist Emma Haziza has warned that: "We must rethink the agricultural system," because "the solution" to drought threats can be found in "our soils and the management of our land. 

"In France, according to the ecology ministry, 80% of fresh water is used for agricultural practices. Livestock consume water at a time when it is running low, in August, which makes demand explode in the farming sector," she said.

"We must therefore rethink this whole model as we cannot continue with it in the long term. We will have to feed our populations with other forms of sustenance and restore our soils.

"When soil quality declines, we become twice as exposed to drought risks and, another risk, the slightest bit of rain causes mudslides which are much more dangerous."

Related articles 

First hot weather of year headed for France next week and set to linger

Water restrictions on way for south-east France in early drought alert

Homes evacuated: Dry weather leads to multiple wildfires across France

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