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Red weather alerts lifted as heatwave moves eastwards across France

Some 70 French departments are still under orange heat warnings, but temperatures have now dropped along the Atlantic coast after record highs yesterday

Some 70 departments are currently under an orange weather alert for high temperatures Pic: Météo France / Guenter Albers / Shutterstock

[Update July 19 at 16:45 - The orange heatwave alert has now been lifted from some departments in western France, although there are 58 departments to which it applies. There are still 11 departments under an orange warning for storms.]

National weather service Météo France has lifted the red heatwave alert which had been imposed on 15 departments in western France yesterday (July 18), but 70 departments remain under an orange warning. 

This is because the heat is now moving eastwards across the country today (July 19), with Météo France stating that temperatures “will begin rising in more eastern regions,” with highs of “37-40C in Normandy, Hauts-de-France, Ile-de-France, Grand-Est, Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes, the Rhône valley and around Toulouse.” 

However, by Wednesday (July 20), “the extreme heat will only concern the southeasterly quarter of the country, with nighttime temperatures remaining very high.” 

Some 11 departments are also under an orange weather alert for storms. These are Creuse, Haute-Vienne, Dordogne, Corrèze, Lot, Lot-et-Garonne, Tarn-et-Garonne, Gers, Haute-Garonne, Hautes-Pyrénées and Pyrénées-Atlantiques.

“These storms will provoke local [instances] of violent wind gusts and hail showers,” Météo France warns.

For further details of the departments still under an orange heat warning, see below. 

Record temperatures along the Atlantic coast

Provisional figures released by Météo France suggest that yesterday saw temperature records beaten in around 10 towns in western France. 

These included Lanmeur (40.3C, 4C higher than the last record) and Brest (39.3C, 4.1C higher than the last record) in Finistère, Saint-Nazaire (Loire-Atlantique) where temperatures hit 40.7C, Cazaux (Gironde) with a high of 42.4C and Biscarrosse (Landes) with 42.6C. 

The area around Cazaux is the site of one of the two forest fires which are still burning in Gironde, having now destroyed nearly 20,000 hectares of land. 

Read more: South-west France giant wildfires still spreading, situation worsens

However, some parts of western France, including the Pays Basque and Landes, were hit by the cool, humid galerne wind yesterday evening, causing a sudden fall in temperatures. 

Météo France stated that there was a “drop of 15-20C”, accompanied by “wind gusts of 60-70km/h” along the Basque coast and around Arcachon between 18:00 and 21:00.” 

This meant that the area went from 40C in the afternoon to 21C in the early hours of the morning.

Orange heatwave alerts 

The departments under an orange heatwave alert today are: Ain, Aisne, Alpes-de-Haute-Provence, Hautes-Alpes, Alpes-Maritimes, Ardèche, Ardennes, Ariège, Aube, Aveyron, Calvados, Cantal, Charente, Cher, Corrèze, Côte-d’Or, Dordogne, Doubs, Drôme, Essonne, Eure, Eure-et-Loir, Gard, Haute-Garonne, Gers, Indre, Indre-et-Loire, Isère, Jura, Loir-et-Cher, Haute-Loire, Loiret, Lot, Lot-et-Garonne, Marne, Haute-Marne, Meurthe-et-Moselle, Meuse, Moselle, Nièvre, Nord, Oise, Orne, Paris and the departments surrounding it, Pas-de-Calais, Bas-Rhin, Haut-Rhin, Rhône, Haute-Saône, Saône-et-Loire, Sarthe, Savoie, Haute-Savoie, Seine-Maritime, Seine-et-Marne, Deux-Sèvres, Somme, Tarn, Tarn-et-Garonne, Territoire de Belfort, Val d’Oise, Vaucluse, Vienne, Haute-Vienne, Vosges and Yvelines. 

There are also 16 departments on yellow warnings. For further information, visit the Météo France website. 

All of the departments along the Atlantic coast are now free from any heatwave alert.  

Related articles 

Heatwave: Record temperatures expected in France

Drought map update: See the French departments with water restrictions

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