Temperatures are expected to peak in France today and tomorrow (May 18-19), before dropping gradually back to the seasonal average over the weekend.
Highs of 30-34C are forecast this afternoon by national weather service Météo France, with Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes, Occitanie and Nouvelle-Aquitaine set to see the hottest weather.
Certain towns like Montélimar and Lyon could by the end of this week have experienced temperatures of over 30C for more than five consecutive days, making this hot spell the most persistent since May 1945 in those areas.
The only exceptions to this will be the English Channel and Mediterranean coastlines, which will see slightly lower temperatures.
These high temperatures continue a long episode of warmer than average weather which could make this month the hottest – and nearly the driest – May on record in France.
️ La #chaleur qui s'est installée depuis le début du mois se poursuit cette semaine. Le mercure va repartir à la hausse, pour atteindre, en milieu de semaine, 30 à 34°C sur la plupart des régions.— Météo-France (@meteofrance) May 16, 2022
Aix-en-Provence via @infoclimat pic.twitter.com/OovXI5sEjX
Between May 1 and May 15, the average national temperature was 16.6C. Only five other months of May have returned higher averages since 1947, the hottest being in 2011.
“It is now very likely that, over the whole month, May 2011, which is currently the hottest [on record], will be dethroned by May 2022,” Météo France has stated.
Between 1950 and 1970, temperatures only exceeded the average of 15.04C six times, while over the last 20 years they have done so 13 times.
In addition to the heat, only 112,6mm of rain has fallen on average in France this year, the second lowest amount on record, topped only by that of 2011.
A period of rainfall is expected at the end of the week, but it is unlikely to compensate for the 25% deficit recorded in April.