With the arrival of hot air from the Maghreb via Spain which is already suffocating, the South-West of the country will be affected first on Tuesday with temperatures between 34 and 36°C, but it is all of France which will be struck gradually by the weekend.

An unequivocal sign of global warming, heat waves are multiplying and intensifying all over the world and France is not spared.

Once again, the mercury will panic this week: 35°C to 39°C expected during the peak between Thursday and Saturday in the southern half, with peaks over 40°C locally in the South-West, according to Meteo France. And between 30°C and 35°C in the northern half on Friday and Saturday.

Assuring to be “fully mobilized”, Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne announced a meeting on Tuesday of prefects and regional health agencies, to ensure “that all the devices are in place”.

The country has already experienced more exceptional temperatures in June. The absolute record for mainland France dates from June 2019, with 46°C in the shade in Vérargues (Hérault) but it was at the very end of the month (June 28).

“It’s the first time we’re going to see a heat wave so early and we could reach 40°C for the first time so early in the season,” Olivier Proust, forecaster at Météo-France, told AFP on Tuesday. France.

An aggravating early character for organisms. “The length of the day is longer so the cooler period is shorter”, notes Olivier Proust, also referring to the consequences on schools still open, unlike the heat waves of July or August.

In a nursery school in the Chutes-Lavie district of Marseille, a teacher noted a temperature of 30°C in her class on Monday. “We are facing south so we couldn’t even open the windows to ventilate, it was worse,” she told AFP, armed with a fogger to refresh her students.

This heat wave comes after a particularly hot and dry spring which caused drought in much of France, raising fears for crops and creating conditions conducive to fires.

– “summer of all dangers” –

In this context, 36 departments have implemented water use restrictions.

And while Météo-France is counting on a hot and dry summer, the spokesperson for the Federation of Firefighters of France Eric Brocardi warned on Tuesday on franceinfo against a “summer of all dangers”.

On Monday, the Gard has already experienced several major fires, including burning 60 bungalows in one of the largest campsites in Europe.

The strong heat forecast is particularly risky for the elderly, vulnerable people or infants, but also for outdoor workers.

In Occitania, on public works sites, which are particularly exposed, companies have implemented special measures: the bitumen is poured in the morning rather than the afternoon, the timetables are arranged, the breaks more frequent, bottles of Water is made available to workers, invited to moisten their clothes, details Julien Blanc-Galera, of the Regional Federation of Public Works.

And it is also in this stifling heat that more than 500,000 senior high school students will work on Wednesday for 4 hours on the writing of philosophy.

Météo-France describes this episode as a “heat wave”, which corresponds to high temperatures for several consecutive days (the national thermal index must reach 25.3°C at least one day during the episode, be greater than 23 .4°C for at least three days and not once fall below 22.4°C).

But it is likely that the “heat wave” threshold, which takes into account the danger that day and night heat represents for the population, will be reached in several departments from Thursday. Heatwave orange vigilance could thus be triggered by the end of the week in certain departments.