The heatwave settles in France. From the northeast to the southwest of the country, at least 28 departments are under orange surveillance this Saturday, with temperatures above 30 degrees that, in some cases, may even exceed 40 degrees. The public body Météo France has warned that the heat wave will reach its peak intensity at the beginning of next week and that the exceptionally late episode of high temperatures is announced as the “hottest of summer 2023”. The authorities have already issued recommendations to anticipate its consequences and avoid the drama of 2003, when there was an excess mortality of more than 15,000 people.
“At work, on the way home or on vacation, let’s all be vigilant: make sure you stay hydrated and take care of vulnerable people,” the council urged on Friday. Prime Minister Élisabeth Borne. The Government convened an inter-ministerial crisis meeting on Thursday to anticipate the consequences of high temperatures and activated a special number that recommends how to protect yourself from high temperatures. He Health Minister Aurélien Rousseauhad already warned on Thursday on X (formerly Twitter) that the heatwave, which began last week, will be “unusual due to its duration and intensity.”
A group of tourists takes refuge in the shade of a tree, this Saturday in Marseille. Daniel Cole (AP)
There are four levels of surveillance: orange is the third and red, which imposes “absolute surveillance”, is the maximum, according to Météo France. Mercury, the agency has warned, will be particularly high in cities such as Montélimar, in the Drôme department (southeast of the country), where temperatures of up to 38 °C are expected. But also in Avignon and Lyon, with highs of 37. In the latter city, the thermometer already rose on Thursday to 36.6.
The heatwave episode also coincides with the return from the holidays. The public body Bison Futé, which monitors traffic on the country’s roads, has issued a red alert for returns home. On the A7 motorway, for example, which connects Lyon with Marseille (south-east), there have been significant traffic jams. The luminous panels emit prevention messages and remind us of the importance of cooling off.
The meteorological episode is due to what is called a dome or heat dome, a phenomenon characterized by the presence of a mass of hot air formed under high pressure conditions. When this atmospheric pressure pushes the hot air down, it acts as a kind of lid that locks in the heat. Météo France compares it to a bicycle pump. Another characteristic of the current heat wave is the fact that it occurs at the end of August, which, according to experts, is one of the consequences of climate change.
Information is the first tool against climate change. Subscribe to her.
“All the heat waves observed in metropolitan France after August 15 were in the 21st century, there have been no other cases in the 20th century, which constitutes another marker of climate change,” he pointed out. Aurelien Ribes, of the National Center for Meteorological Research, during an interview on Friday with BFMTV. The country has registered 46 heat waves since 1947. And the record was reached in 2012, when it lasted from August 17 to 21 with temperatures of up to 41 degrees.
Avoid the catastrophe of 2023
Given the arrival of sweltering temperatures, the Executive has taken extreme precautions. The goal is to avoid a repeat of the heatwave of 2003, when nearly 15,000 people died. After the drama, the authorities included the heatwave phenomenon in the Météo France alert system. This summer, nobody wants to take a false step. “We learned from the drama of 2003,” affirmed forcefully on Friday the Minister of Solidarities, Aurore Bergé.
Among others, the minister explained that all the tools had been deployed to guarantee the “health security” of the 600,000 French people who live in nursing homes. The municipalities affected by the high temperatures also have the obligation to call all the elderly and isolated people in their area.
In recent days, various sectors wanted to anticipate the effects of high temperatures. The state utility EDF, for example, has reported a possible reduction in electricity production since this weekend at two large nuclear power plants on the banks of the Rhône. The plants use the river water to cool their circuits, but they will be able to stop using it since the temperature of these waters will be between 26 and 29 degrees. The measure is not exceptional and has already been taken in previous years.
The world of football has also prepared. The French League has delayed the start of two games scheduled for this Saturday by two hours.
In cities, where the effect of heat takes on another intensity, the authorities recommend going to cool places such as libraries, parks or museums with air conditioning. In the city of Clermont-Ferrand, in the center of the country, the City Council has reduced the entrance fee for the four swimming pools in the area. And in the Paris metro, the capital – particularly vulnerable to the heatwave – the speakers recommend hydration frequently.
You can follow CLIMATE AND ENVIRONMENT on Facebook and Twitteror sign up here to receive our weekly newsletter
Subscribe to continue reading
Read without limits
#France #faces #late #heat #wave #temperatures #exceed #degrees #Lets #alert