Southwestern Europe crushed by heat

The heat continues to rage Friday in southern Europe, particularly in the southwestern third of France where temperature records are expected in many regions, as well as in Spain still struggling with several fires.

• Read also: Heat peaks reaching 40 degrees in Europe

In total, 18 million people are affected by the heat in France. Schoolchildren and college students have been authorized to stay at home in certain departments although their reception is assured in the establishments.

“Tonight it was 30 degrees at my house. It was suffocating, I had trouble getting to sleep,” Mathis Garcia, 30, who lives in a studio, under the roof, in the heart of Toulouse (south-west), told AFP.

If the mercury has already reached 40°C locally in the southwest on Thursday, many records could be broken on Friday in the same area, according to the Météo-France meteorological service.


The “red alert” level is activated when dangerous weather phenomena of exceptional intensity are forecast.

He invites the population to keep “regularly informed of the evolution of the situation” and to imperatively respect the safety instructions issued by the public authorities.

“This year, I was surprised because the heat wave. Usually, it falls on us in the middle of summer”, deplores Josiane Maupomet, 79, who ensures to get up “at 04:00 to air”.

“It is the earliest heat wave ever recorded in France” since 1947, indicates Matthieu Sorel, climatologist at Météo-France, seeing it as a “marker of climate change”.

This is the fourth time that the red heat wave vigilance has been used, after the lessons learned from the historic heat wave of 2003 which killed more than 15,000 people in France, especially among the elderly.

A classic side effect of heat episodes, the concentration of ozone in the air is clearly increasing over a large part of France, according to the official Prev’Air bulletin published on Friday.

“Under the effect of the heat wave that the metropolis is experiencing, ozone concentrations have been increasing sharply for two days. These concentrations should remain high in the days to come”, indicates the Prev’Air platform, managed by Ineris.


In Spain, firefighters continue to fight several fires across the country on Friday, hit by an exceptional heat wave for almost a week, with temperatures sometimes exceeding forty degrees.

The mercury should still exceed 35 degrees on Friday on almost all of the territory and once again cross 40 degrees in certain areas of the center, north-east and south of the country, according to the Spanish Meteorological Agency (Aemet ).

The most important fire broke out in the Sierra de la Culebra, in the northwest of the country, where between 5,000 and 7,000 hectares of forest had gone up in smoke on Friday morning, announced the region of Castile and Leon .

In the Northeast, the region of Catalonia is also facing several fires. The most serious occurred near Baldomar, in the province of Lérida, where the fire destroyed more than 940 hectares of forest, according to the Catalan regional government.

In northern Italy, Lombardy is preparing to declare a state of emergency in the face of a record drought threatening crops and water is already rationed in several towns in the Po Plain, which crosses the north of the country. .

This region, home to important agricultural crops, is facing its worst drought in 70 years.

The United Nations (UN) called on Friday to “act now” against drought and desertification in order to avoid “human disasters”.

“It’s time to act: every action counts,” said the executive secretary of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), Ibrahim Thiaw, during a conference in Madrid on the occasion of the World Drought Day.

For scientists, the multiplication, intensification and lengthening of heat waves, aggravated by greenhouse gas emissions, constitute an unequivocal marker of global warming.

And the consequences of this disruption are clear, they point out: fires as far as Siberia, melting sea ice in the Arctic, droughts, record temperatures on all continents, cyclones and other extreme climatic events.

Although located in the “temperate” climatic zone, France, since the particularly trying heat wave of 1976, has experienced episodes of this type that are more and more frequent, intense or early.

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