France prepares for 40 degree heatwave with orange alert declared

France prepares for 40 degree heatwave with orange alert declared

Authorities around Paris have issued an orange alert for intense heat, the second-highest level on its scale, as very hot temperatures are expected across continental Europe this week.

France’s national weather agency Meteo France said the heat wave beginning on Monday is expected to last all week with temperatures of up to 40C (104F) across the country.

A woman uses paper as a fan in Lille (MIchel Spingler/AP)
A woman uses paper as a fan in Lille (MIchel Spingler/AP)

The peak is expected on Thursday.

In Paris, charity organisations are patrolling the streets to provide water to homeless people and local authorities have organised air-conditioned places where they can seek shelter.

Meteorologists say the heat wave is caused by hot winds coming from the Sahara Desert.

The alert system was introduced in France following the summer of 2003, which saw an estimated 15,000 heat-related deaths, many of them older people left in city apartments and retirement homes that were not air-conditioned.

French health minister Agnes Buzyn said on Monday that “everything is ready, in retirement homes, in hospitals, in transports.”

“Yet when people are fragile, even when everything is organised, there’s always a higher mortality rate,” she warned.

A dog sticks his tongue out in Lille (Michel Spingler/AP)
A dog sticks his tongue out in Lille (Michel Spingler/AP)

Organisers at the Women’s World Cup, which is being hosted by France, could be faced with implementing Fifa heat precautions, since knockout games are being played every day this week except Wednesday and Sunday.

Those precautions include holding official cooling breaks or even postponing the match if the heat at the stadium is too high.

Luckily, most of the women’s games are being held at night.

Similar heat is also expected in Belgium, Switzerland and Germany.

In Germany, temperatures above 40C are possible in some places on Wednesday, topping the country’s previous June record of 38.2C (nearly 100.8F) set in Frankfurt in 1947.

Rescue services have urged people to look out for young children, the elderly and those with compromised immune systems who are at particular risk in high temperatures.

The Louvre in Paris (Mike Egerton/AP)
The Louvre in Paris (Mike Egerton/AP)

Parts of northeastern Germany are also at high risk for forest fires.

Authorities in the eastern state of Brandenburg, which circles Berlin, say the risk of forest fires is at the highest level in the coming days.

Scientists say measurements show heat waves in Europe are becoming more frequent.

Stefan Rahmstorf of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research said “monthly heat records all over the globe occur five times as often today as they would in a stable climate”.

“This increase in heat extremes is just as predicted by climate science as a consequence of global warming caused by the increasing greenhouse gases from burning coal, oil and gas,” he added.

Dim Coumou, a scientist at the Free University of Amsterdam, said melting Arctic sea ice is also affecting atmospheric circulation, which in turn makes extreme heat more likely.

“Data analysis shows that the normally eastward travelling summer circulation of the Northern Hemisphere mid-latitudes has slowed down, including the Jet Stream,” he said.

“This favours the buildup of hot and dry conditions over the continent, sometimes turning a few sunny days into dangerous heat waves.”

- Press Association

More on this topic

Status yellow weather warning in place for whole countryStatus yellow weather warning in place for whole country

Flood and tornado risks remain across US Gulf CoastFlood and tornado risks remain across US Gulf Coast

Heavy rain leaves scores dead in Nepal, India and BangladeshHeavy rain leaves scores dead in Nepal, India and Bangladesh

Gulf Coast drenched as Storm Barry makes landfallGulf Coast drenched as Storm Barry makes landfall

More in this Section

Pro-Brexit group founder wins appeal against €22k EU referendum finePro-Brexit group founder wins appeal against €22k EU referendum fine

Japanese animation studio fire suspect named by policeJapanese animation studio fire suspect named by police

Man climbs down side of 19-storey building to escape fireMan climbs down side of 19-storey building to escape fire

17 people injured after two cars crash at UK charity car meet for bereaved families17 people injured after two cars crash at UK charity car meet for bereaved families


Lifestyle

These handy product edits are so useful for travelling, says Katie Wright.Palettes pack a punch: The travel must have

It's not all research, deadlines and live broadcasts for RTÉ’s Maggie Doyle. For downtime, there’s nothing more she loves to do than to put on her pinny, whip out the food mixer and bake.I've never fallen for a food fad: RTE's Maggie Doyle on eating for pleasure

More From The Irish Examiner