THE temperature in France surpassed 45 degrees Celsius for the first time on record on Friday as Europe sweltered in an early summer heatwave that has caused several deaths. With France, Spain, Italy and parts of central Europe particularly badly hit by the high temperatures, officials pleaded with people to take common sense precautions. France’s new record temperature of 45.1 degrees Celsius was registered in Villevieille, a village in the southern department of Gard near Montpellier, the same area where a previous high of 44.1 degrees Celsius was set in August 2003, Meteo-France told AFP.
Records began at the turn of the 20th century. The state forecaster said it was likely the record could be beaten again on Friday as it was still relatively early in the day. Earlier the mercury rose above 44 degrees C in the south-eastern town of Carpentras. The town was deserted, with cafe owners contemplating empty terraces, which would normally be packed.
“We have never seen this!” one exclaimed. The new record makes France just the seventh European country to have recorded a plus 45 degrees Celsius temperature, along with Bulgaria, Portugal, Italy, Spain, Greece and North Macedonia, Meteo France said. At least two deaths linked to the heatwave were reported in Spain. After feeling dizzy while helping harvest wheat in the southern Andalusia region, a Spanish teenager collapsed with convulsions when he took a dip in a swimming pool to cool off.