Weather: new heat stroke in France, towards a record month of October

Beaches with summer attendance, crowded terraces, tropical nights: after the heat waves of this summer, the month of October is exceptionally mild and promises to be the hottest ever recorded in France, after a summer already extreme.

October 2022 will be “without a doubt a record month in terms of heat”, Christine Berne, climatologist at Météo-France, told AFP on Tuesday, forecasting an average temperature over the month expected between 16.8 and 17.3 degrees.

“This is well above the previous record set in October 2001 with 16.3 degrees,” she said.

At their private competitor of the Weather Channel, forecasters also anticipate that October “will be the hottest ever recorded in France since 1945”.

This “situation of strong anomaly will persist until the end of the month, with an average increase of +3.7 degrees compared to normal” for the season, indicated Pascal Scaviner, head of the forecast service at La Chaine Météo. The previous records dated from 2006 (+2.37 degrees) and 2001 (+2.69).

This week promises to be “exceptional”: a heat peak is expected on Thursday with average temperatures of 28-30 degrees expected in the Southwest.

– abnormalities –

For several days, the mercury has already panicked in the south of the country. Sunday in Figari (Corsica), it showed 32.5 degrees, a level not reached since 2006.

“And again, the previous record was October 3, not October 23! Normally from mid-October the temperatures start to drop and there, it’s the opposite,” notes Ms. Berne.

Mr. Scaviner also notices an “accentuation since October 16: at the start of the month, the temperatures were 2.56 degrees higher than normal, but since the 16th, we have been at +5 degrees”.

If it is not necessarily rare to see a “sudden peak of heat, which lasts three or four days” at this time, it is the “persistence of this episode of mildness” which is disconcerting, underlines Météo-France.

As of Tuesday, Aix-en-Provence had already recorded its monthly record for the number of hot days (16 against 13 in October 2004), as well as Perpignan (14 days with a thermometer above 25 degrees, against 13 in 2014 and 1942).

– Water at 19 degrees –

And in several cities in the south, the thermometer does not go down frankly once the sun goes down.

On October 23, Gaetan Heymes, forecaster at Météo-France, reported on Twitter “tropical nights” (temperatures not dropping below 20 degrees) in several cities in the South-East, such as Marignane (21.9 degrees), Arles (20.7) or Montpellier (20.5). A trend that continued this week.

In Toulouse, the mercury has never dropped below 20 degrees since the beginning of the month. Result: the terraces are always full and mosquitoes are still present.

A situation that delights All Saints holidaymakers: in the Pyrénées-Orientales, the beaches are full, and in the Landes the crowds are such that several municipalities have extended beach surveillance until Sunday.

“The reflection is underway to find out if we keep the system in place for the second week of the school holidays according to the expected weather forecast”, according to Julien Lalanne, responsible for monitoring the beaches in Hossegor, where the water is still 19 degrees.

– “Runaway” –

But, on the side of climatologists, it is rather concern that dominates. “This year, we are clearly in a frenzy. With the exception of a small period in September, we have been witnessing particularly hot months non-stop since April. We have the impression that the atmosphere has more and more difficult to cool down”, analyzes Ms. Berne.

The cause? A situational phenomenon, a surge of warm air from Africa, coupled with the effects of climate change.

“Without global warming” caused by greenhouse gases emitted by humans, “we would not have such hot temperatures, with climate disruption contributing to more frequent and intense extreme phenomena, becoming earlier and later,” she says.

With such heat “the probability of compensating for the strong deficit of precipitation since the beginning of the year is low, and therefore the surface drought will further increase”, warns Mr. Scaviner.

Weather: new heat stroke in France, towards a record month of October