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France to be hit with heatwave up to 40°C next week

France is at high risk of a heatwave next week, with temperatures expected to reach up to 38°C in Paris and 40°C in the south east - a June record since 1947.

Next week, much of the country will be hit by hot air rising from North Africa, with a potential heatwave (“canicule” in French) experienced for five days from Sunday afternoon (June 23) to Thursday (June 27).

A proper heatwave ("canicule", not to be confused with the lesser "vague de chaleur") is defined by temperatures over a certain threshold, continuing without a break for three days and three nights.

The hottest regions will extend from the Pyrenees to the north east, passing via the  Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes. Temperatures will range from 33-35°C in some areas, with the highest peaks expected to reach 40°C.

The hot weather is likely to bring strong sunshine but also risks causing thunderstorms.

Sébastien Léas, forecaster at Météo France, said: "We will have very high temperatures from Sunday, but it is really from Monday that the heat will intensify."

The west of the country will be less hot, due to sea winds from the Atlantic, but temperatures on the coast and in western regions are still expected to hover around 30°C. At night, it is unlikely to be cooler than 21°C.

In Paris, 38°C is expected, which would be the hottest temperature for June since 1947.

However, heatwaves are not particularly rare in June - in 2017, the month saw peaks of 38°C in Toulouse, and 37°C in Paris.

Yet, older and more vulnerable people are at risk during extremely hot weather. Government figures estimated that 1,500 people died in the excess heat of summer 2018 - which was the second-highest summer on record - and ten times’ that number died in the heatwave of 2003.

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