Friday, 9 July 2010

la canicule

means, not exactly a heat wave, but a prolonged period when temperatures reach a certain level at some point in the day and do not go below another level at night.  It is Not A Good Thing.  Here in France the temperatures required for a canicule vary with the region - what is fairly normal in summer in Marseille might be a canicule in Brest.  Here in Alsace we regularly get very hot summer weather, as we have a continental climate, but nonetheless we are now on "canicule alerte orange" as temperatures have been reaching, and are forecast to continue to reach, 35 degrees or higher in the daytime and not to go below 20 degrees at night.  We share this with part of the Paris region and the Rhone at present.  An excellent initiative by some cities is to offer free admission for pensioners to their municipal ice rinks.  The pensioners don't skate but they enjoy watching the skating, and they stay cool.

the picture above was taken in Belfort, not far from here, yesterday, and this is what it feels like at present.  We are 500 km from the sea.

3 comments:

Augustus Carp said...

After "Canicula", the Italian for tthe Dog Star (Sirius). Apparently, there was a theory that heatwaves occurred when the Dog Star was in the ascendant, or something.

Jonny said...

Dog days. The Romans believed that when Sirius was ascendant between the kalends of July and the ides of August, its heat added to the heat of the sun.

jane said...

but really - I am no astronomer, but, er, in central and southern Europe it tends to be kind of hot in July and up to mid-August (here the heat diminishes to pleasant warm summer weather after the public holiday for the Feast of the Assumption (yes I know France is supposed to be a secular state) on 15th August