Exceptional heat stroke in France, 28 departments on orange alert

A man under a beach umbrella in Ajaccio on July 19, 2023 (AFP/Archives/Pascal POCHARD-CASABIANCA)

The mercury will rise exceptionally on Saturday in France, where 28 departments have been placed on orange alert by Météo France, scorching temperatures being expected on this day classified red by Bison Futé on the way back from vacation.

The 28 departments placed in orange vigilance on Saturday form a vast diagonal going from the Gers to the Haut-Rhin and up to Savoie.

Minimum temperatures will be higher than in previous days, no less than 20 to 23°C in general, according to Météo France.

Cars on the A7 south of Lyon, August 4, 2023

Cars on the A7 south of Lyon, August 4, 2023 (AFP/Archives/Emmanuel DUNAND)

The maximum will reach Saturday 34 to 38 ° C between Jura, Auvergne, Rhône-Alpes, Paca and Corsica, as well as in the South-West. 39°C will be reached in the lower Rhône valley, through which a large number of motorists will pass, and between 30 and 34°C in the rest of the country.

The mercury will be particularly high in Montélimar (38°C), Lyon, Avignon and Albi (37°C), Toulouse, Carcassonne and Annecy (36°C) and Mâcon, Montluçon and Agen (35°C).

This heat stroke of exceptional intensity for the end of August led Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne to call for caution on Friday on X (ex-Twitter) after having brought together an interministerial crisis unit the day before.

“At work, on the way home or on vacation, let’s all be vigilant: make sure you stay hydrated and watch out for the vulnerable,” she urged.

The traffic promises to be particularly dense in the direction of returns this weekend, Bison Futé seeing red in Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes and the South-East at the end of the week, and throughout France on Saturday.

A nurse sprays water on a resident in a retirement home in Lyon on July 2, 2015.

A nurse sprays water on a resident in a retirement home in Lyon on July 2, 2015 (AFP/Archives/ROMAIN LAFABREGUE)

EDF plans to reduce the production of its nuclear power plants in Bugey (Ain) and Tricastin (Drôme) from Saturday and Sunday respectively, in order to avoid excessive heating of the waters of the Rhône which cool their reactors.

The peak of the heat wave is expected “between Monday and Wednesday” before a possible drop in temperatures on Thursday which remains to be confirmed.

The main concern, however, is health. A national information platform has been activated (0800 06 66 66) and prevention messages are broadcast on television and radio.

Organisms could be put to the test, including at night when temperatures drop little.

“The hospital will cope”, assured Friday on France info the Minister of Health Aurélien Rousseau, estimating that if the situation is “tense” in the emergency room, it is not “more serious” than in 2022.

© 2023 AFP

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