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Heatwave continues in France but storms arrive sparking new alerts

Hundreds more heat records broken on Wednesday and many red level warnings still in place

Sun, rain, storms… hail? The weather could change drastically depending on where you are in France today Pic: Alessandro Caroli / Shutterstock

France’s extended heatwave is coming to an end as a storm moves in from the north west of the country. 

The storm is set to clear away the high pressure air trapping heat in the southern half of the country, and could result in temperature drops of up to 20C in some areas by the weekend.

Until the storm moves southwards overnight, however, dozens of departments will face another day of extreme temperatures, with 17 still on red alert. 

The combination of storm and heatwave alerts issued by Météo France means that every department bar three in mainland France and Corsica has been issued with at least a tier-two warning. 

Out of these, 84 are tier-three orange (37 for storms, 39 for heatwave) or red alert – the highest amount of increased warnings since Météo France introduced the system in 2001.

Heatwave breaks more records in France

On Wednesday (August 23), over 100 locations saw their highest ever temperatures broken during the course of the day, according to the French observatory Keraunos. 

At Mont Aigoual (over 1,500 metres above sea level), temperatures of 30.4C were recorded – the highest in over 130 years of measurements at the weather station. 

In the Gard department, a temperature of 44.4C was recorded at Salindres, and in Nice, temperatures did not drop below 28.6C for the entire day, beating the previous minimum temperature in the city of 28.1C (recorded in 2015).

These were not the only records broken – Carcassonne saw temperatures of over 40C for the fourth day in a row, and with a high of 43.2C on Wednesday.  

Toulouse recorded a temperature of 42.4C – in both of these southern cities, temperatures were the highest ever recorded, beating measurements from the infamous 2003 heatwave. 

Read more: France heatwave: what does a red alert change for the public?

Read more: France heatwave: what to (and not to) eat and drink

Storm to bring end of heatwave 

The highly-anticipated storm set to clear the ‘heat dome’ around the southern half of the country has begun to arrive, however. 

From this morning, the storm will make its way southwards from the British Isles, bringing heavy showers and potential lightning strikes. 

Over 50 departments are facing tier-two yellow warnings for storms, but 25 are facing enhanced tier-three orange warnings. 

These are situated in Normandy, Hauts-de-France, and the departments surrounding Paris.

In Rochefort (Charente-Maritime), winds of over 90km/h have already been recorded this morning, and by the afternoon winds of over 110 km/h hit the Aisne department. 

By this evening, the storm will have reached east towards the German border, and the area around Metz could even see hailstorms alongside heavy rain. 

On Friday (August 25), Météo France predicts that the storm will move south, rapidly cooling temperatures in the Nouvelle-Aquitaine and Occitanie regions, although temperatures will remain high in the south east around Vaucluse until the weekend. 

As of now, Météo France is not predicting any departments to be facing a tier-three storm warning on Friday.

Early forecasts for Saturday see storms diminishing further in strength, but bringing rain to the Mediterranean coast around Marseille and the Hérault department in the south. 

Related articles: 

How to keep your house cool in the high heat of the French summer

9 French expressions to use when there is hot weather

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