Mercury tops 45C in France

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(France) – Temperatures in France surpassed 45 degrees Celsius (113 degrees Fahrenheit) Friday for the first time on record as Europe sweltered in an early summer heatwave that has caused several deaths.

With France, Spain, Italy and parts of central Europe hard hit by the record-breaking temperatures, officials pleaded with people to take precautions.

France´s new record temperature of 45.9 degrees C (114.6 degrees F) was registered in Gallargues-le-Montueux, a village in the southern department of Gard near Montpellier, breaking successive records set earlier in the day, the Meteo-France weather service told AFP.

This is the same area where the previous high of 44.1 degrees Celsius was set in August 2003. Records began at the turn of the 20th century.

The weather service said the new high was comparable to August temperatures in California´s Death Valley.

Earlier Friday, the mercury rose above 44 degrees C in the southeastern French town of Carpentras. The town was deserted, with cafe owners contemplating empty terraces which would normally be packed.

“We have never seen this!” one exclaimed.

The new record makes France just the seventh European country to have recorded a plus 45-degree temperature, along with Bulgaria, Portugal, Italy, Spain, Greece and North Macedonia, Meteo France said.