PARIS (AFP): France saw record temperatures for September hit the country, notably the south west, amid a heatwave drifting up from Morocco, the Meteo-France weather service said Monday.
The thermometer hit 39.1 degrees Celsius (102.4 degrees Fahrenheit) at Mont-de-Marsan in the southwestern Landes department and 39C at nearby Dax.
Regional capital Bordeaux saw 37.5C — topping a previous September high of 37C in 1987 — while Tarbes further south in the Pyrenees saw 37.2C, more than a degree up on the 35.8C seen in 1964.
Neighbouring Pau managed to beat that with a baking 38.9C, easily surpassing the 36.3C it had seen in 1970.
Even some 600 kilometres (370 miles) further north, in Nantes, temperatures were a barely less scorching 35.1C, unheard of for the area in September.
The intense heat — coming on the back of a scorching summer which saw a series of horrific wildfires in the southwest — results from “hot air coming up from Morocco and propelled by a depression, the post-tropical cyclone Danielle, currently off the coast of Portugal”, a Meteo-France forecaster told AFP.
France saw three heatwaves between June and August, the result of an air depression in the Atlantic Ocean as scientists lined up to blame the phenomenon at least partly on climate change.
This summer was France’s second-hottest on record with average temperatures 2.3C above the norm, a slew of large-scale wildfires which ravaged much of the southwest and widespread drought as well as several severe storms.
Another large forest fire raged Monday at Saumos on Bordeaux’s western outskirts as firefighters reported the evacuation of some 200 local people as a precaution, French media reported.
Firefighters were aided by three planes and two helicopters as they prepared to work through the night to tackle the flames.
They said the blaze had ripped through some 350 hectares (870 acres) in a region which saw more than 30,000 hectares incinerated over recent months.
A smaller fire further east at Herm, outside Dax, affected another 45 hectares.
Forecasters said in contrast to the summer the current hot weather would not last, with a dip in temperatures starting from midweek, remaining above 30C on Tuesday before returning to normal by the weekend.
Meteo-France added that some areas, including the lower Rhone valley, would likely see heavy rain and intermittent violent storms.