France will be gripped by a heatwave between Thursday (June 16) and Saturday (June 18), with temperatures in central parts of the country reaching 40 degrees Celsius (104 degrees Fahrenheit).
A cold air system coming from the Maghreb region is acting like a gear, pushing hot air upwards towards France and the Iberian peninsula, Meteo France weather expert Olivier Proust said.
“It’s as if a heatstroke enters the country, with temperatures largely surpassing normal levels,” he said, showing a map of France with bright red zones in most of the west and the south, stretching into central France.
Proust said the high temperatures will also worsen drought, already experienced in the Loire Valley, with riverbeds in towns like Ancenis-Saint-Gereon and Mauges-sur-Loire expanding as water levels drop, and with the soil cracking from dryness.
Periods of intense heat, which is happening more frequently and earlier in the summer season while lasting longer, are rooted in climate change, Proust said.
“It’s a sign of this global warming. This is obviously triggered by human activity,” he said.
He added that other parts of Europe, such as Italy, Alpine countries and the south of Germany, will not escape the heatwave.