Météo-France is now predicting temperatures of 42C along the west coast by this Saturday (June 18), when the peak of the heatwave is expected to be reached.
The weather service revised its predictions upwards after initially saying temperatures would peak at around 40C.
Temperatures in some parts of the south-west of France, notably in Toulouse and other parts of Occitanie, have already reached 40C today (June 16). But Météo-France predicts Friday and Saturday will be hotter still and that some parts of the country will experience record highs for June.
By Saturday afternoon, temperatures are expected to be at least 33C in all parts of the country (not including Corsica).
#VagueDeChaleur très intense et d'une précocité inédite en cours. Point sur les maximales attendues ces 4 prochains jours. Valeurs dépassant très souvent les records de juin, parfois de l'ordre des records absolus. Extension des vigilances #canicule à suivre cet après-midi. pic.twitter.com/uPVRJGd80k— VigiMétéoFrance (@VigiMeteoFrance) June 16, 2022
Twenty-three French departments are currently on ‘orange’ alert for heatwaves.
They are mostly located in the south-west and along the west coast, stretching up to Pays de la Loire. There are also two departments from the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region, Ardèche and Drôme on orange alert.
More departments could be added to the orange alert level at 16:00 today when Météo-France revises its assessments.
You can read about how the alert levels are calculated in our article here: France’s ‘heatwave plan’ and how it may affect residents
Météo-France describes this current heatwave as “remarkable” for how early in the year it is, saying that it could become the earliest heatwave in France measured on a national level since recordings began in 1947.
The previous earliest heatwave was between June 18 and 22, 2017.
Temperatures are not expected to fall until Sunday (June 19) after a storm that will begin over the Atlantic coast.
It means temperatures should be lower from next Monday (June 20), although it could still be over 30C in parts of the south-west.
How to keep cool during a heatwave?
France’s national health agency, Santé publique France, offers the following advice to people to help manage heatwaves.
- Stay out of the sun
- Drink water
- Avoid alcohol
- Eat sufficient amounts of food to maintain energy levels
- Close windows and shutters during the day, aerate rooms during the night
- Spray yourself with water to keep cool
- Keep in touch with friends and family, especially those who are vulnerable
- Consider doing low-energy activities