Intense heatwave to bake the Mediterranean in coming days

Weather alerts have been activated in the south of France as a heatwave begins to take hold in the Mediterranean. Locally, daytime temperatures will climb above the 30ºC mark, with little relief at night.  

Officials from the Alpes-Maritimes, Var, Hautes-Alpes and Alpes-de-Haute-Provence departments in the Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur (PACA) region have all issued yellow heat alerts for the next few days following a report from Météo France of an intense late summer heatwave beginning 17th August. 


Heatwaves tend to occur in the region between 1st July and 15th August, but this latest event looks set to continue well into the latter part of August.  

The reasons, according to meteorologists from Météo France, are a bubble of high pressure forming over France that will still winds and contribute to a sort of “heat dome” as well as a phenomenon called subsidence, which forces air to descend then compress, causing higher heat levels.   

Into the weekend, the central regions of France will also experience similar excessive heat conditions to those in the interior of the PACA.  

According to Météo France, “These high temperatures promise to be lasting with peaks close to 40°C in the Mediterranean South and in the Rhône Valley from this weekend… Heatwave vigilance will therefore continue to evolve.” 

Nights will offer little relief as temperatures are expected to hover between 22ºC and 25ºC.  

Meteorologists also warn that the sea won’t escape the consequences of the heatwave either, with water temperatures expected to reach a bath-like 29ºC in the coming days.  


The timing of the heatwave is particularly concerning, given its lateness in the summer. The added strain put on ecosystems after an already hot summer could cause potential problems and place increased stress on crops that have suffered in the prolonged extreme heat felt thus far in 2023.  

People will also feel the brunt of this heatwave. Though most can adjust using common sense and the odd electric cooling device, some more vulnerable people may find this late heat episode exhausting.  

This heatwave promises to be the hottest of the summer, with no significant reduction in temperatures until the middle or end of next week.  


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Photo source: Anthony Salerno, Unsplash