There are 26 French departments on an orange alert for high temperatures today (August 3), as the week’s heatwave approaches its peak.
The departments under an orange heatwave warning are: Lot, Lot-et-Garonne, Tarn-et-Garonne, Haute-Garonne, Tarn, Corrèze, Puy-de-Dôme, Haute-Loire, Gard, Vaucluse, Drôme, Ardèche, Isère, Savoie, Haute-Savoie, Rhône, Ain, Loire, Saône-et-Loire, Jura, Doubs, Côte-d’Or, Haute-Saône, Territoire de Belfort, Haut-Rhin and Bas-Rhin.
Pyrénées-Orientales had been under an orange alert yesterday (August 2), but has now been moved to yellow.
There are 42 departments under a yellow heatwave warning, meaning that alerts currently cover all but the north and north west of the country.
Temperatures are expected to remain high tomorrow (August 4), as the hot air moves eastward, but should fall slightly from Friday.
“Between Wednesday and Thursday, maximum temperatures will often be above 35C, with spikes of 39-40C in the south west, around the Tarn and Garonne areas.
Languedoc-Roussillon should see lower temperatures today than it did yesterday because of a sea breeze blowing over the region.
Night-time temperatures will remain high, often sitting above 20C in departments under an orange alert.
“We are worried by these repeated movements towards a heatwave,” which “do not allow organisations to return to their normal operations,” Isabelle Bonmarin of Santé publique France said this week during a press conference.
“We expect excess deaths when we enter a heatwave [...] especially among the over-75s,” her colleague Robin Lagarrigue added.
The heat is also exacerbating the dryness observed in July, which was the driest since July 1959, with a rainfall deficit of over 80%.
Bilan #JUILLET2022— Météo-France (@meteofrance) August 2, 2022
️ T°C moy : 23.2°C.
2.1°C de plus que la normale, au 3è rang des mois de juillet les + chauds depuis début de XXe, derrière juillet 2006, juillet 1983, ex-æquo avec juillet 2018.
️ Mois de juillet le + sec, période 1959-2022.
Météo France climatologist Jean-Michel Soubeyroux has said that: “since July 17, we have been in a record drought situation across the country. “In these first days of August, the ground is even drier than it was on the same date in 1976 and 2003.
“It is probable that this situation will worsen by the middle of August, and that the absolute record for surface soil dryness – from 2003 – is beaten.”
The dry soil is contributing to the spread of wildfires, which have already burnt thousands of hectares of land this summer.
Yesterday, a forest fire covering 450 hectares around Santi-Pietro-di-Tenda in Haute-Corse was brought under control, while in Alpes-de-Haute-Provence the village of Niozelles was evacuated as a precaution as another blaze moved over 210 hectares nearby.