The heat wave currently affecting France is exceptional in its precocity and intensity. Its intensification and extension has led Météo-France to place 12 departments on heatwave red vigilance from 2 p.m. tomorrow, Friday June 17. Christine Lac, Météo-France forecaster, announced during a press briefing this Thursday, June 16 that “Saturday would be the peak of intensity” of this heat wave with the hottest day to be expected.

A heatwave episode due to a “localized depression off Portugal which brings hot air from Spain to Western Europe”. Matthieu Sorel, climatologist, specifies that it is “the earliest heat wave recorded in France since 1947”. According to him, “earlier and more intense heat waves are indeed a marker of climate change”.

After a month of May with record temperatures, France will suffer an intense heat wave of unprecedented precocity. “As is now often the case during heat waves in France, absolute records will therefore probably be broken, mainly in the south-west of the country and the Centre-Val de Loire”, specifies Météo-France.

The heat will increase tomorrow afternoon over the whole country, and 40°C will be frequently reached or even exceeded over a large south-west quarter, with possible monthly heat records. The night from Friday to Saturday will be very hot in the departments placed in red vigilance, with values ​​at the end of the night ranging from 22 to 25 degrees.

Saturday afternoon on the Landes, Poitou-Charentes, Vendée axis, according to Météo-France, “the maximum temperatures will still be rising; absolute records could then fall”. A heat wave which should end “during the night of Saturday to Sunday”. According to Christine Lac, Météo-France forecaster, there will be “a cooling by a rainy-stormy wave over the west of France”. The specialist therefore predicts an end to the heatwave episode thanks to “a stormy arrival during the day on Sunday”.

As a reminder, the level of red vigilance is triggered in the event of an episode of so-called “extreme” heat wave, exceptional in terms of its duration, intensity, earliness or geographical extent. It is characterized by extremely high daytime and nighttime temperatures which can have a high health impact, but also disrupt the continuity of society. This level of vigilance is based in particular on taking into account past extreme meteorological contexts that have been lasting (2003 heat wave) or intense with many broken records (summer 2019 heat waves).

In terms of health, the level of red vigilance implies that the health effects can be felt in the entire population and no longer mainly in particularly fragile or vulnerable people (elderly people, pregnant women, infants, people without sheltered or poorly housed, or workers exposed to heat, etc.) as in the case of the orange level. It is therefore necessary to ensure that you are well protected from the heat, whether at home or at work. Red vigilance involves increasing population protection measures, for example by providing for activity restriction measures.

This Friday from 2 p.m., in addition to the 12 departments placed in red vigilance that you can discover in the slideshow below, 14 other departments will also go into heat wave orange vigilance:

Finally, 19 departments will go into yellow vigilance, further east and north, as far as Hauts-de-France and Ile de France.