France experiences summer temperatures in mid-October due to warm air from North Africa

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By Mario Bowden  with EBU
Beach along Southwestern France
Beach along Southwestern France   -  Copyright  Bertrand Combaldieu/Copyright 2022 The AP. All rights reserved

The southwest of France is currently experiencing a remarkable heat spell for the month of October. Some parts of the west are reaching 29 degrees celsius, which is causing both pleasure and concern for local residents.

Temperatures as high as 30 degrees are forecast for later this week in the region. Places such as Pau, Montauban and Auch (around Toulouse) and Biarritz are expected to be the hottest areas this week – around 7-10 degrees hotter than average. 

In the southeast of the country, cities like Lyon and Grenoble are scheduled to see milder temperatures between 25 and 28 degrees.

An exceptionally-warm front blowing up from northwest Africa is said to be the reason for the heat which is set to sweep across western Europe as far as the UK. 

But even if the locals appreciate this warmer autumn, especially not having to put the heating on as usual, they are aware that something is not quite right.

The recent weather "is not normal", one man in Gironde told reporters. "At this time of the year, we should already have frost, the birds are not flying, we don't understand, what's going on? The planet is in danger."

In Toulouse, some river banks along the Garonne river have entire sections visible when normally they are submerged by water.

Vincent MICHEL/AP2011
Cracked and dry earth is seen along the riverbed of the Loire River in Ancenis, western France, Wednesday June 1, 2011Vincent MICHEL/AP2011

"What is impressive is that this year we were able to walk on the river in July, August, September, and now October. So we have four months where we have had the Garonne very low," said Jean-Michel Fabre, a development studies expert on the Garonne.

In Bordeaux the remarkable spell of hot weather, while enjoyable is also causing concern.

"It's worrying, but at the same time I don't think we should always relate everything to global warming," says Maïka, a student. "We saw it this summer with a lot of droughts, that was really worrying. We'll see in the next few years, if it turns out to be this temperature on 25 December one day, it will be really worrying."