France recorded temperatures nearly two degrees higher than its previous record as much of western Europe remained in the grip of an extreme early-summer heat wave on Friday.
The French state weather forecaster, Météo-France, said the temperature in Gallargues-le-Montueux in the Gard départements hit 45.9C at 4.20pm on Friday. Etienne Kapikian, a Météo-France meteorologist, said “This is historic,” “It’s the first time temperature in excess of 45C has ever been recorded in France.”
In Germany, the national DWD weather service said overall June temperatures were more than four degrees higher than historical averages for the month and 0.4C higher than the previous 2003 record, itself the warmest June since records began in 1881. The World Meteorological Organisation in Geneva said 2019 was now firmly on course to be among the world’s hottest ever years and that 2015-2019 would then become the hottest five-year period on record.
The French president, Emmanuel Macron, said extreme weather would 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 “adaptation of society and its habits”. About 4,000 schools were closed in France as head teachers warned they could not guarantee safe conditions, local authorities cancelled many end-of-school-year carnivals, and nursing homes equipped the elderly with hydration sensors. The greater Paris region, Ile de France, had already banned more than half of cars from its roads in an effort to reduce air pollution and the cities of Lyon, Strasbourg and Marseille have also restricted traffic.
> Alma Siddiqua
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