Thursday, July 20, 2006

Dog days in Bordeaux

We are sweltering under another heatwave in France. Here in Bordeaux, the temperature is rising into the 40 degree C range, and is topping the themometer for the entire country. It might make for a fine vintage, but we are not all grapes. Usually the temperature is taken or forecast for the local airport, but in the center of town, things get a whole lot hotter.

People have already started pegging off because of the heat, and memories of the Canicule of 2003 are flooding back. This time round the government is far better organised after the flak they got in 2003 when some 15,000 people died. We now have a heatwave warning system and over the past few days we have been deeply into the Orange Level.

France is entering into it's traditional July / August shutdown when everyone goes on holiday and nothing much happens for 2 months. If you want to see a doctor, you have to make an appointment now to be seen in September . Under new emergency heatwave measures though, doctors and medical personnel can be re-called from holiday. In 2003, the government had to commandeer cold storage facilities to act as temporary morgues.

This year the heatwave is happening about 2 weeks earlier than the historic 2003 canicule, which really only got going in August. If it continues like this into August though, the current death toll of 9 might be much higher.

Who needs global warming anyway? Deconsume!

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