France prepares for new heat record, as Spain battles wildfire

by AFP/ pic by AFP

Temperatures in France are expected to reach a record-breaking high on Friday, as Europe continues to endure a sweltering heatwave which sparked an out-of-control wildfire in Spain. 

Governments warned citizens to take extra precautions, with the week-long heatwave causing a build-up of pollution and fears of an increase in emergency calls across Europe. 

French meteorologists have forecast temperatures that may exceed 45 degrees Celsius on Friday, a high never seen in mainland France. 

The current record was set in August 2003 in the southern region of Montpellier and Nimes, when the thermometer hit 44.1 degrees Celsius. 

“To beat this record so early in the year would be exceptional,” said meteorologist Christelle Robert.

The average maximum temperature recorded Wednesday in France of 34.9 C was already a record for the month of June, said state weather forecaster Meteo France.

French President Emmanuel Macron warned that such extreme weather is likely to become more frequent as a result of global warming. 

“We will need to change our set-up, our way of working, build differently,” he said, stressing a necessary “adaption of society and its habits.”

French Health Minister Agnes Buzyn on Thursday said people had to be prepared for the peak of the heatwave and expressed irritation that some appeared not to be listening to advice. 

She complained about parents leaving their children in the car and joggers exercising in the midday heat.