The city of Paris is in preparation for an extreme heat wave and is opening extra swimming pools, as well as installing mist machines throughout the city.
Paris is ramping up its preparedness, hoping to avoid a repeat of prior heat waves, which caused thousands of deaths, mostly among the elderly and vulnerable.
Officials are also going to postpone thousands of school exams.
Meteo France, the national weather agency of France, has said parts of the country could reach 40 degrees Celsius, or 104 Fahrenheit, by Wednesday. The temperature is unusually high for France, especially this early into summer time.
The BBC reported that humidity could make the temperatures feel more like 47 degrees Celsius, or 117 Fahrenheit.
Officials across Paris are preparing themselves. The predicted temperatures are being compared to those of 2003, when France saw a major heat wave that killed 15,000 people across the country, causing French morgues and hospitals to become overwhelmed.
The mayor of Paris, Anne Hidalgo, has enacted a heat-wave action plan on Monday, which includes the creation of public “cool rooms,” more water fountains throughout the city, and machines that spray cool mists into the streets.
There has also been the installation of devices to convert some fire hydrants into fountains and sprinklers.
According to a report by France 24 broadcaster, Agnès Buzyn, health minister of France, warned hospitals and retirement homes to be on high alert.
The mayor also announced a phone service that elderly or sick people can register with. Officials will be calling the people registered on a regular basis, then dispatch help if necessary.
The city has also warned people to avoid drinking alcohol, wet down their bodies several times a day, and to “spend several hours a day in a cool place,” such as a supermarket or movie theatre.
Officials have also created an additional hotline that people could call to get more information throughout the day. They’ve also installed public showers, and put fans into nurseries. The city says it will also be delivering water to homeless people.
France’s education ministry has also delayed state exams for middle-school students until July, saying it was “unthinkable” to have them sit through their exams inside hot rooms. However, exams for students at other levels will be going ahead as scheduled.
The city has extended park opening hours, as well as opening five additional new parks, to help people escape the heat.
The Guardian reported that Mayor Hidalgo said some of the city’s swimming pools would stay open later than 10 p.m. and that new, temporary pools would be introduced in some of the city’s more densely populated areas. She also stated people would be allowed to swim in one of the canal basins.
According to the Associated Press, the president of France, Emmanuel Macron, said on Monday, “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.”
Meteo France calls the weather “exceptional for the end of June.” And it isn’t just France getting this kind of weather as Germany, Switzerland, Spain, and Belgium could also get record-breaking temperatures.
“This heat wave could be remarkable for how early it has come as well as its intensity,” said Meteo France.
AccuWeather said, “It may take until next weekend or the start of July for the heat to finally ease across northern Europe.”
Meanwhile, Europeans are finding creative ways of keeping cool. Bloomberg reported that a German man got naked before running through a shop’s frozen aisle to cool off.
Experts are saying that climate change is what is responsible for making European heat waves more common.
Stefan Rahmstorf of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research spoke to the Associated Press and said that, “monthly heat records all over the globe occur five times as often today as they would in a stable climate.”
Rahmstorf added, “This increase in heat extremes is just as predicted by climate science as a consequence of global warming caused by the increasing greenhouse gases from burning coal, oil, and gas.”
Hopefully with the evidence of climate change all around us, countries will take action to reverse the damage before it’s too late. In the meantime, stay hydrated.