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France faces third heatwave of the summer amid severe drought

A worker drinks water in a construction site in Savenay, outside Nantes, on July 18, 2022, as a heatwave hits France.
A worker drinks water in a construction site in Savenay, outside Nantes, on July 18, 2022, as a heatwave hits France. Copyright Loic VENANCE / AFP
Copyright Loic VENANCE / AFP
By Anelise BorgesLauren Chadwick
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There are water restrictions in several southern European countries due to drought.


France is facing its third heatwave this summer with temperatures expected to rise from 38 to 40°C

Twenty-six départements in the country are on “orange alert” due to the rising temperatures. The forecast will affect most of the country except for the northeastern regions.

The southwestern regions of France could record temperatures around 40 degrees.

Already 60 French départements are at a “crisis” level for drought, with water restrictions in place due to the lack of precipitation.

The month of July 2022 was marked by a record rainfall deficit in France with less than four days of rain recorded in the plain – around 3 to 10 days fewer than the average, Météo France has said.

On average precipitation amounted to 9.7 mm, which is a deficit of 85%, the weather agency added.

July 2022 also ranked the driest month of July since 1959 in the country.

Several regions in Spain are also on alert for heatwave temperatures reaching 40°C.

“The persistence of the heat this summer is extraordinary, and it seems that it will continue,” Spain’s meteorological agency said.

“Although during the second half of this week there will be slight temperature drops, unusually high temperatures are forecast for the next 15 days in large areas of the Peninsula and the Balearic Islands.”

Drought has prompted multiple southern European countries to impose water restrictions.

A recent report from the European Commission said that nearly half of the EU is exposed to warning levels of drought.

Drought and high temperatures can create ideal conditions for wildfires, experts warn. Dried-out vegetation can be more flammable and increase how fast a fire can spread.

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