According to Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne’s office, France’s government announced Thursday that it would host a crisis meeting to address a heatwave that might peak at the weekend.
At 5:00 pm, senior employees from Borne’s office, the interior, health, agriculture, and transport ministries were scheduled to meet.
After 2022’s harsh heat and fierce wildfires, Paris has been boosting up its hot weather protection measures this summer, with four of mainland France and Corsica’s 96 departments currently in elevated fire danger and a drought affecting two-thirds of water tables.
On Monday night, a 500-hectare area of the Pyrenees-Orientales department near the Spanish border was burned.
The Provence-Alpes-Cote d’Azur area saw a heatwave in July that resulted in at least 30 more deaths than usual, on top of the 80 that were reported during the first incident in June, according to the SPF public health authority on Thursday.
Out of the 61,000 deaths that occurred in Europe last summer, more than 4,800 occurred in France. In most of southern France, temperatures on Thursday were predicted to be above 30 degrees Celsius (86 degrees Fahrenheit), with peaks as high as 37. In the upcoming days, a so-called “heat dome” that traps fresh hot air coming from the south is anticipated to form.
“These high temperatures are set to last, with peaks nearing 40 C on the Mediterranean coast and the Rhone valley this weekend,” the French weather service Meteo France warned. Paris is expected to reach 35°C as heat waves sweep across central and northern France.
Until “the middle or even the end of this week,” according to Meteo France, thermometers won’t start to dip. With an average temperature of 27 degrees reported over many days across 30 monitoring stations nationwide, meteorologists have even predicted that France could see its most extreme heatwave ever, surpassing 2012’s record.