Peaks at “42°/43°C” in Aquitaine, “absolute” record in Biarritz… France has reached a heat peak

Hot in front! The intense heat wave of unprecedented precocity which affects most of France reached a peak this Saturday with “peaks close to 42 ° C / 43 ° C” in the South-West and absolute temperature records , as in Biarritz, before the arrival Sunday of thunderstorms and rain from the West.

Nearly three quarters of the country’s population, i.e. 45 million people, are affected by the red or orange levels of heatwave vigilance. Eleven departments are still on red alert, from the Pyrénées-Atlantiques – where Météo-France recorded 42.9°C in Biarritz, or 2.3°C more than the previous record dating from 2003 – to Vendée. The orange color concerns 59 departments.

At midday in Toulouse, Aurélie Fournier could only see the void looking at the terrace of her Mexican restaurant. “People are getting inside and drinking more water and less alcohol,” she notes.

In some cities, museums welcome visitors in search of freshness. Bordeaux, where the mercury indicates 40°C according to Météo-France, has also made them free. At the Liberation Museum, of General Leclerc and Jean Moulin in Paris, Sonia De Man, 70, a Belgian tourist who came with her daughter, confided that she had “chosen to favor a museum during the day” rather than go to Montmartre, as planned. They will also be able to take advantage of the opening of the parks and gardens of Paris all night long.

Pilgrimage canceled

“Peaks close to 42°/43°C are measured locally in southern Aquitaine. Absolute temperature records have been broken, ”explains Météo-France on Saturday, while the Basque Country in particular was very hot, even on the coast, with 42°C recorded in Saint-Jean-de-Luz.

“It is generally between 37 and 41°C in Aquitaine, Poitou-Charentes, Centre-Val-de-Loire, western Burgundy and Ile-de-France. In the Grand-Est, the Lyon region, Auvergne, the Rhône valley and a good part of Occitanie, the maximum temperatures reach 35 to 39 ° C, ”adds the meteorological service.

Faced with this exceptional situation, festive, sporting and cultural events have been cancelled, such as the pilgrimage of veterans planned for Lourdes (Hautes-Pyrénées) on the occasion of the anniversary of June 18, 1940. In Bordeaux, the ceremony of commemoration of General de Gaulle’s appeal has been postponed to Sunday 19 June.

In Strasbourg, between 10 and 15,000 people according to the police took part in the Visibility March. “I have the impression that there are a little fewer people because of the heat wave”, judges however Antonin Rosse, a 23-year-old regular, dressed in a long black dress, a light blouse and d a large felt hat typical of the region. “A mix between a very rural Alsatian and Boy George,” he smiles.

Nearly 140 hectares burned in Aveyron

The heat, combined with the drought which was already hitting part of the country after a spring with little rain, favored the outbreak of fires, in particular harvests, like Friday in Deux-Sèvres and Charente, classified in red vigilance.

Saturday in Aveyron (orange alert), firefighters were fighting a fire that destroyed 140 hectares of vegetation in the town of Comprégnac, without causing any casualties, with an unfavorable wind and on steep terrain. A hundred additional hectares could be threatened.

With the heat, the concentrations of ozone in the air are clearly increasing over a large part of France, according to Prev’Air, which predicts that they will remain high “in the days to come”.

Météo-France is expecting occasional thunderstorms on the Atlantic coast from Saturday evening, “the beginnings of a rainy-stormy deterioration” scheduled for Sunday evening which will “gradually reduce” the heat wave. Sunday afternoon, “the strongest heat will shift to the east”, with 34 to 38 degrees in the northeast.

Leave a Comment