Europe faces a week of extreme heat
August 8, 2022 - France’s worst drought on record has left parched villages relying on water deliveries by truck, farmers warning of a milk shortage and energy utility EDF cutting nuclear power output.
National weather agency Météo-France said it was the worst drought since records began in 1958 and that it will worsen until at least the middle of the month. On average, less than 1cm of rain fell across France last month.
“The weekend of August 15 could be the hottest this summer. The heat there will be scorching, brutal to bear. Thunderstorms will erupt in hot air and make the atmosphere clammy and unpleasant, said Gilles Matricon, a meteorologist with the French weather TV channel La Chaîne Météo.
“Next Saturday, the heat will be intense everywhere. After a tropical night, with minimums around 20°C, the maximums will reach 34 to 37°C on average in the afternoon. Peaks of 40°C will be possible in the east of the country,” Matricon added.
According to Reuters, France’s agriculture ministry predicts that the corn harvest will be 18.5 per cent lower this year compared with 2021. A shortage of fodder because of the drought means there could be a scarcity of milk in the months ahead, the National Federation of Farmers’ Unions warned.
The hot weather has caused corrosion problems for state-run nuclear operator EDF, with extra maintenance at half of its 56 reactors reducing capacity amid a Europe-wide energy crunch.
According to the European Drought Observatory, 45 per cent of European Union territory is in “Warning” conditions, and 15 per cent is in “Alert” conditions -- warning signifies a soil moisture deficit while alert means vegetation stress.