France holds heatwave crisis meeting as hotter temperatures forecast

A ‘heat dome’ is expected to add to the situation next week - we explain

Temperatures could reach 40C this weekend in major cities such as Lyon
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A number of measures are being rolled out by the government to help keep people informed of safety measures as France’s heatwave continues.

An inter-ministerial team has been created to help tackle the crisis, after an emergency meeting was held by the prime minister last night (Thursday August 17).

A free heatwave advice phone number has been made available, and TV and radio adverts are being shown to remind people of best practices during the heatwave.

The number is: 0800 06 66 66.

There are currently 19 departments facing a tier-three orange warning for canicule (heatwaves), stretching from the south of France to the Rhône Valley, and more than 20 on a tier-two yellow warning, meaning almost half the country is on alert.

Météo France predicts that in the south east, temperatures could reach 40C on Sunday, but overall the ‘peak’ of hot weather will be next Tuesday and Wednesday, before temperatures are expected to fall.

Read more: MAP: See what temperatures to expect today and tomorrow in France

Temperatures next week will be raised due to a dôme de chaleur (heat dome) that will form this weekend around the south, preventing warm air from escaping.

Free heatwave help number made available

One of the first measures to be announced from the inter-ministerial team was the creation of a Canicule Info service helpline that will provide help and advice about the heatwave.

The number is free and is open between 09:00 and 19:00.

It “provides advice on how to protect yourself and those around you, especially the most vulnerable, and how to adopt the right actions,” said the government.

The number should only be used for advice, and not for medical emergencies relating to the heat, where people should still call 15.

Advice and warnings will also be given on TV and radio slots for the duration of the heatwave, promoting the number and giving people advice on how to cope.

It is also still possible to subscribe vulnerable people and over 65s to the registre canicule with your local mairie, which will regularly contact those on the list to check they are keeping cool and hydrated, and remind them of tips to help.

France is particularly sensitive to the effects of heatwaves in the country – in 2003 a heatwave killed around 15,000, mostly elderly, people.

This current heatwave is the latest ever recorded in the calendar year in France.

You can read tips on how to keep yourself and your house cool in the links here:

Read more: France heatwave tips: How to sleep, keep cool and stay healthy

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

What is making the heatwave last so long?

Even with temperatures reaching up to 38C today in the Rhône valley and 40C in the south east over the weekend, overall they will be highest throughout France at the beginning of next week.

This is due to a ‘heat dome’ that is expected to form around much of the south.

A heat dome is caused when high pressure air (which will roll into France from the Mediterranean and north Africa over the weekend) traps warm air underneath it. This circulates at ground level and gets warmer as it is unable to escape.

This dome could last until next Thursday or Friday when storms are expected to clear the high pressure air.

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