- Paris is on high alert with a dangerous heat wave expected in France and other parts of Europe, leading officials to issue warnings and introduce measures like new water fountains and mist machines.
- France is due to hit temperatures as high as 40 degrees Celsius, or 104 Fahrenheit, this week, with humidity making it feel even hotter.
- Many in Paris remember a 2003 heat wave that killed 15,000 people in France.
- School exams have been postponed and swimming pools are open later, while new “cool rooms” and information hotlines have been installed.
- The city is warning that elderly and sick people are the most at risk. The local government has urged people to avoid alcohol and to spend time in cool places like supermarkets and cinemas.
Paris is ramping up its preparedness for an extreme heat wave this summer by opening extra swimming pools and installing mist machines throughout the city. Prior heat waves have plagued the city and have led to thousands of unfortunate deaths, mostly among the elderly and vulnerable.
France’s national weather agency stated that parts of the country could reach 104 Fahrenheit in days to come, with humidity making it feel as sweltering as 117. The temperature is unusually high, particularly for this early in the summer and experts say climate change is making these heat waves more common across Europe. This plan for increased water availability is a result of that.
In 2003, comperable temperatures caused upwards of 15,000 deaths across France, overwhelming hospitals, morgues and the countries financial structure. Anne Hidalgo, the mayor of Paris, enacted a heat-wave action plan, which includes creating public “cooling rooms,” additional water fountains across the city for access to the public and machines that spray a cooling mist into the streets.
The city has also installed devices to convert some fire hydrants into fountains and sprinklers for an added reprieve to the heat.
Agnès Buzyn, France’s health minister, told hospitals and retirement homes to be on high alert as previous heatwaves have clearly proven the potential for disasterous results.
The mayor announced a phone service that elderly or the sick could register with. Officials will call the people on a regular basis to see that they’re alright and dispatch immediate help if necessary. The city also warned people not to drink alcohol, advised them to wet their bodies multiple times a day and to spend several hours a day in a cool place, like a supermarket or a cinema. They’ve also created a hotline that people could call to get more information throughout the day, installed public showers, and put fans in nurseries. The city says it will also deliver water to homeless people.
The city has opened parks for longer periods and opened five new additional parks to help people deal with the heat.
The Guardian reported that the mayor said some of the city’s swimming pools would stay open after 10 p.m. and that new, temporary pools would be introduced in some of the more densely populated areas of the city. She also said people would be allowed to swim in one of the canal basins.
Emmanuel Macron, the president of France, on Monday said “sick people, pregnant women, infants, and elderly people are the most vulnerable. So we must be vigilant with them and have prevention measures in place in order to intervene as quickly as possible.”