France’s local authorities, farmers and railway company Societe Nationale des Chemins de Fer are preparing for the country’s most intense heatwave since 2006, with maximum temperatures of 40 degrees Celsius (104 degrees Fahrenheit) expected this week.
In Paris, City Hall employees will start making calls to check on the elderly and other at-risk groups and arrange “cool rooms” in each district’s town hall as part of an action plan drawn up by Mayor Anne Hidalgo.
“This heatwave is both early and intense,” forecaster Meteo-France wrote in a bulletin. “The major heatwaves that have affected France in the past generally happened later in the summer.”
The hot spell comes as French President Francois Hollande prepares to host a climate-change meeting in Lyon Tuesday ahead of an international conference scheduled to take place in Paris later this year. A 2003 heatwave across Europe resulted in more than 14,000 deaths in France and caused billions of euros of losses for Europe’s agriculture and forest industries.
A mass of hot air will affect France’s southwest, with maximum temperatures between 36 and 40 degrees Celsius and nighttime temperatures of above 20 degrees, Meteo-France forecast. The hot weather will spread to the Paris region by Wednesday, with temperatures reaching as high as 35 degrees.
Railway operator SNCF said it will check its main lines more frequently and may send out teams to inspect the tracks if the hot weather persists.
Power companies should still be able to meet demand despite the soaring temperatures, grid operator Reseau de Transport d’Electricite said earlier this month.
Storms are forecast to cool things down on Thursday, before the weather heats up again on Friday and lasts through the weekend, Meteo-France said.