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Hot Summer in France Brings Drought Conditions

Many parts of France have had one of the hottest and sunniest summers on record, which has continued into September.

According to Météo France, the average temperature this summer in France was +1.3° above average, making it the fifth hottest summer since 1950, behind 2003, 2006, 1994 and 1983.

As the following graph demonstrates, temperatures in France have been above average* in most years since 1990.

  *Average for period 1971-2006

The middle of August this summer was a particularly hot spell, when temperatures in excess of 40° were registered in the South.

Not only were temperatures high, but sunshine levels were up between 20% and 40%.

However, not everyone faired as well, and particularly in Brittany the rain fell in torrents during July, up to three times more than normal. The regions of Lorraine, Limousin, Burgundy and Centre were also fairly well doused.

By contrast, during August all areas of France experienced above average dry sunny weather, which has extended into September. On some days this month, temperatures have been in to the 30ºs in many parts of the country.

It is the lack of rain that is now a major worry. Particularly in the South and South West, there has been very little rainfall since the end of May. During August, in most areas of Southern France there simply has been no rainfall at all.

As a result restrictions on the use of water are widespread, with a hosepipe ban now in operation in many parts of the country. In some communes the water supply is also being turned off at night in an attempt to replenish reserves.

Météo France have forecast that it will continue to be a dry warm Autumn for most of the country. Farmers in the South who were counting on a bumper crop earlier this summer now believe yields will be considerably down on normal.

This article was featured in our Newsletter dated 15/09/2009

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