The May 2022 month is truly remarkable. This Sunday will mark the end of an extraordinary heat episode that began in mid-May and ended in extreme precocity, duration and extent. Meteo France has already stated that these unusual climatic conditions make May 2022 the hottest May in history. This is despite the fact that temperatures for the last few days have been low.
The average temperature in France for May should be 18°C. This is three degrees higher than normal and more than the record from May 2011 (16.9degC).
Friday's hot air mass shifted to the Mediterranean, breaking many monthly records. It was hotter than ever in May in Ajaccio (Corsica), at 36.2degC. This is against 34.6degC for May 26, 2008. Also, it was hotter in Menton (Alpes-Maritimes), at 33.5degC, and in Frejus, Var, at 32.7degC.
Friday night saw panic on the Promenade des Anglais counters. With an amazing 23.5degC, Nice beat its previous record for absolute night mildness in May (which was 22). 3degC (May 26, 2011) for a station that was opened in 1942. Surprisingly, Nice broke the May maximum temperature record a few hours later with 31.4degC. This value was recorded at... 9:53 AM!
This heat record-breaking episode does not help the drought front.
Alpes-Maritimes and Dordogne are now on "drought alert", along with Maine-et-Loire, Var, and other departments that have been placed on the list. These decrees aim to limit water use, as opposed to 19 departments last May 23rd. Thirteen other departments are also under "drought surveillance", which is three more than five days earlier.
Even though the heat is starting to cool, the temperatures should remain close to 30 degrees on Sunday near the Mediterranean. There will be a mistral, a tramontana, and gusts of 70 km/h. The South-East firefighters were forced to remind everyone about the danger of fire in the South-East, especially in the Bouches-du-Rhone area and the Ardeche.
This is a worrying situation, as when Meteo France engineers are asked about their forecasts for June 1, they already foresee a new episode in heat in the South East regions starting Wednesday.