In total, 27 departments are placed on heat wave orange vigilance, from Bas-Rhin to Haute-Garonne via Vaucluse and 41 others on yellow alert, according to the Météo-France bulletin.
The heat peak will be reached on Wednesday and “it will still be present on Thursday by shifting towards the east”, specifies Météo-France.
Temperatures “will drop significantly by the North-West by the end of the week except in the southernmost regions where they can remain high”, close to 35 ° C, said Olivier Caumont, head of duty for the forecast at Météo-France, during a press briefing. “There are still uncertainties regarding the end of the event,” he summed up.
Only a few days elapsed between this new heat wave and the previous heat wave, not counting the first in June, which was unusually early.
“We are worried about these close repetitions of heat waves”, which “do not allow organisms to return to normal functioning”, explained Isabelle Bonmarin of Public Health France (SPF).
“We expect excess mortality as soon as we go into a heat wave (…) and in particular those aged 75 and over”, added his colleague Robin Lagarrigue, indicating that “an assessment will be made at the start of the school year, in September “.
The succession of these heat waves, which make the consequences of global warming even more perceptible, also aggravates the drought. “We are on a major event, which can easily be compared to 1976 or 2003”, commented Jean-Michel Soubeyroux, climatologist at Météo-France.
Agriculture is particularly suffering.
In the Pyrénées-Orientales, where the highest temperatures are expected on Tuesday, watering could be prohibited in the orchards of the Tech valley. Baptiste Cribeillet, 32, farms 60 hectares of nectarine peaches there in organic farming. For the time being, water withdrawals are restricted by 50%.
“We hope they maintain this level. If we go to the next stage, we will no longer be able to irrigate at all and the damage would be monstrous on the trees and the crops to come”, estimates this arborist based in the village. of Saint-Genis-des-Fontaines.
In Amiens, the hortillonnages, market gardens on small islands, “are as dry as in the fields”, laments Francis Parmentier, who notably cultivates tomatoes, cucumbers, melons and radishes. They have to be “very careful with irrigation because the fuel for the boats is very expensive (…) and this is not passed on to the vegetables”, he adds.
Crops also suffer from “abnormal temperature variations”, alarms Mr. Parmentier, worrying “more and more” about climate change.
– Historic drought –
Only 9.7 millimeters of aggregate precipitation was recorded in mainland France last month, a deficit of around 84% compared to normal, almost as little as the 7.8 mm of March 1961, the record low since the first national surveys in August 1958.
If the whole of metropolitan France is now under “drought” vigilance, 93 departments are affected by restrictions on at least part of the territory: four are on alert, 31 on heightened alert and 58 in crisis, including the Jura which comes to turn red.
In territories at the crisis stage, “only withdrawals to ensure the exercise of priority uses are authorized (health, civil security, drinking water, sanitation)”, explains the government’s drought information site, Propluvia.
Other economic activities are also affected, such as tourism. The Doubs is thus almost dry in Villers-le-Lac (Doubs), about 4,000 inhabitants on the Swiss border. “I pity the boatmen and the people who come to see the Saut du Doubs”, famous waterfall 27 meters high where not a drop of water has fallen since mid-June, laments Mayor Dominique Mollier.
And things are not going to get any better. No heavy rainfall is expected in the next few days. In the longer term, “the period favorable to heat waves is gradually extending”, warned Jean-Michel Soubeyroux. In the second half of the century, they could occur “from the month of May and would continue throughout the month of September”.