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May heatwave grips France with records tumbling

A picture taken on May 19, 2022 in Saint-Gilles, southern France, shows a wild plant on a soil cracked by drought during an exceptional heat episode in France.  Several southern French towns sizzled in record high temperatures for May on May 18, 2022, while the month as whole is on track to be the hottest since records began, the national weather service said.  (Photo by Nicolas TUCAT / AFP)
A picture taken on May 19, 2022 in Saint-Gilles, southern France, shows a wild plant on a soil cracked by drought during an exceptional heat episode in France. Several southern French towns sizzled in record high temperatures for May on May 18, 2022, while the month as whole is on track to be the hottest since records began, the national weather service said. (Photo by Nicolas TUCAT / AFP)

PARIS: A heatwave in France with temperatures of up to 35 degrees is causing May records to tumble.


In Montélimar in the south, mercury tipped 32.9 degrees on Tuesday, which was the hottest day in May there since 1945, the French weather service announced on Thursday.


On the island of Île de Bréhat, on the north coast of Brittany, the temperature of 27.8 degrees even broke a record for a May day from 1922.


In Lyon, it was warmer than 30 degrees for five days in a row. The last time this was the case was in May in 1945.


There are already signs that May will surpass the hottest May ever in 2011, the weather service said. However, the temperatures by no means pointed to an unusually hot summer, it added.


In 16 French departments, farmers and private households have already been called upon to use water sparingly, the environment ministry said.


France, the European Union's largest grain producer, has seen little rain in the past months and is experiencing record temperatures for May, a crucial month for winter crop development, prompting wheat prices to soar in recent weeks as concerns of tight global supplies worsened.


"There will be two situations coexisting in France. First the shallow to medium soils where very clearly the crops have already suffered and will not recover and yields will be very poor," Jean-Charles Deswarte, agronomist at crop institute Arvalis, said.


The French environment ministry on Thursday warned that more water restrictions would be imposed in the event of foreseeable water shortages. -- dpa/Reuters


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