Temperatures are set to break records again across France today, as twenty departments have been placed on a red heatwave alert. A first for France to be under such high heat warnings, as sixty other departments are on an orange alert with temperatures forecasted to exceed 40 degrees Celsius on Thursday 25 July.
The French Health Minister, Agnès Buzyn has warned that nobody is excluded from the dangers posed by the extreme heat, from toddlers to elderly people. She also encouraged the public to take all necessary precautions and above all to remain properly hydrated all day long.
During the heatwave, French emergency services are on high alert for cases of heat-related illness. This is the second heatwave of the summer. In the Alpes-Maritimes, temperatures should not exceed 37 degrees Celsius, with the highest temperature forecast in Saint-Sauveur-sur-Tinée on Wednesday and Thursday. In Menton, temperatures will stay around 29 degrees Celsius in the night between Friday and Saturday, while thunderstorms are expected in the mountains this weekend.
The weather is causing serious problems for farmers as well, as there are water restrictions in many areas. The French government and the European Union have said that they will provide funds to help farmers during this heatwave period. The SNCF has invited rail passengers in zones under red alert to delay their journeys until this weekend if possible. While the electricity provider EDF said that consumption hit a record of 59.715 megawatts at lunchtime yesterday as people used air conditioning and fans to cool themselves down.
However, cooler weather is expected to sweep across the country from Friday 26 July but extremely hot conditions are forecast today (25th of July) with all-time temperature records expected to be broken in many towns and cities. As this second heatwave lingers, it is advised to stay inside in cool environment, hydrate, limit all physical activities between 8 am and 8 pm, take cold showers and avoid alcohol.
- Alexa Bouhelier-Ruelle