Friday, at the hottest part of the day, heat records were broken in the North. This Saturday, only three departments were still concerned by the orange alert.
A record of 37.6 ° C degrees in Lille, more than 35 ° C over a large eastern half of the country. France has still perspired heavily on Friday because of the heat wave, before thunderstorms in the evening and a drop in temperatures this weekend.
This Saturday, only three departments remained on alert orange heatwave: the Ardèche, the Drôme and the Rhone.
Heat record in Lille, Valenciennes and Arras
Friday, records were beaten. It has never been so hot in Lille. Around 5 pm, the capital of Flanders broke its absolute record of heat since measurements began in 1945, with 37.6 degrees.
The previous absolute record was August 10, 2003 at 36.6 ° C. “1 ° C more than 2003, it is considerable, we can speak of historic heat,” said Météo-France forecaster François Jobard.
By Friday morning, the café terraces of the famous Grand Place were practically empty as the heat was suffocating. Some institutions have made an argument for attracting the onlooker, by highlighting “air-conditioned interior” on their showcase.
The municipality has installed since Thursday five foggers on squares in the city and decided earlier this week to extend the opening hours of two parks in Lille.
“Many monthly records were beaten in the Hauts-de-France,” said Météo-France, as in Valenciennes (36.3 ° C) and Arras (36.8 ° C).
37.4 ° C in Paris
In Paris, the temperature peaked Friday at 37.4 ° C, without the drops of tropical rain that wetted the sidewalks of the capital in the afternoon change very much. A temperature still far from the absolute record of Paris, the 40.4 ° C recorded July 28, 1947.
The heat wave made the wait even more painful for travelers stranded at Montparnasse station, where traffic was interrupted because of the fire of an electrical transformer in Issy-les-Moulineaux, just next to Paris.
The heat wave also caused delays of about an hour and a half Friday morning for the trains using the Channel Tunnel, during this day of great departures on vacation.
In the heat wave “is added a problem of air conditioning in our shuttles, some cars can not absorb the heat produced by vehicles, that of the body and engine blocks made very hot by the use of air conditioning,” explained a spokesperson for Eurotunnel.
In addition, “these high temperatures, associated with strong sunshine and little wind, are favourable to (…) pollution by ozone, ” recalls Meteo France. According to Airparif forecasts, Parisians should breathe better this weekend after five days of peak pollution.
At the end of the day on Friday, rain and thunderstorms were expected to arrive from the west, with a “paroxysm” expected between 8 pm and midnight on Friday night, according to Jobard.
10 ° C less in the weekend
France will experience a significant drop in temperatures for the weekend, “mainly in the west and north of the country”, with in some places a decrease of the thermometer by more than 10 ° C.
But this respite should last only a few days. A new episode of strong heat is expected from the middle of next week, but this time more in the South (Lyon region, Languedoc, Provence) with temperatures that, locally, could approach 40 ° C.
France is far from the only country affected in Europe.
This week, Greece was the victim of the deadliest forest fire in its history -87 deaths according to a last record-before the return of rain expected late Friday. And the temperatures are unusually high in Sweden or with its neighbors.
This heat wave on the continent is an “unambiguous sign” of climate change that has made it “more likely,” say researchers at the World Weather Attribution Network (WWA) in works released Friday.