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France sees record October temperatures

AFP

Temperatures in France hit records for October over the weekend as the country enjoyed its share of Europe’s Indian summer. The barometer is expected to fall 10°C midweek but forecasters say that it could go up again.

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Temperatures rose to an unseasonal 28.8°C in Paris on Saturday, 0.4°C higher than the previous record set in 1921.

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That helped the annual Nuit blanche arts all-nighter hit its own record of 2.5 million people roaming the streets in search of cultural fulfilment. Queues of two hours in the early hours of the morning were reported in some parts of the historic artists’ quarter of Montmartre, which will celebrate its annual grape harvest festival next weekend.

There was sunbathing on the usually cloud-covered beaches of the Channel coast, while the Channel port of Caen, Brittany’s capital Rennes and the southern city of Montélimar all experienced their highest temperatures ever for October.

The national high was recorded where the Channel meets the Atlantic, in the Brittany village of Ploumanac’h. There the temperature reached 32°C, 6.0°C higher than its previous maximum in 1959.

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The heatwave was caused by an anti-cyclone over an area stretching from Poland to France, forecasters say. But clouds coming from the west will start to appear on Tuesday, they add, pushing temperatures down about 10°C to their seasonal average.

But the forecasters say that the anticyclone could return next week, meaning a new rise in temperatures although probably not to the same level seen this weekend.

Despite a rainy summer, 2011 is set to be an exceptionally warm year with heatwaves in both the spring and the autumn.

The balmy weather is not all good news, however.

Climate scientists say that it could be more evidence of global warming. And the water shortage caused by the dry spring, which meant emergency supplies of hay are still being shipped to farmers, may not be relieved unless there is rainfall in October.

The heatwave has also affected the south of the British Isles - 27°C in London, 28°C in Kent at the weekend -, Belgium, Germany, Italy and Spain. But northern Europe, in particular Scandinavia, are cool thanks to a depression.

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