After 6 months of rain, a summer of 2024 in France without drought?

After 6 months of rain, a summer of 2024 in France without drought?

But when will it stop? In the Paris region, just a few days ago, a young woman was adjusting her raincoat before getting off the bus, thus summarizing the general fed-up feeling with the succession of rainy weeks. All of France can testify to this. “Since the beginning of the year, France has received 30% more precipitation than the country usually expects between January and May,” says Simon Mittelberger, climatologist at Météo France.

A “shower” which, beyond the daily inconvenience, caused historic floods in Pas-de-Calais this winter, floods at the end of March in Vienne, mid-May in Moselle, and in June in Gers and Isère. Météo France ranks this start of 2024 as the fourth wettest spring since the launch of measurements in 1959.

An extraordinary climatic sequence that seems to push back the summer drought, common in recent years, and very intense in 2022. After two years of significant water restrictions during the summer (watering bans for individuals and farmers, no filling of swimming pools, reduced withdrawals for certain industries, etc.), will the lights turn green?

The outlook for France is encouraging. Recent rainfall has helped recharge groundwater tables across a large part of the country. Their level is “very satisfactory”, according to the Bureau of Geological and Mining Research (BRGM), with 70% of them having levels above normal on 1 June.

The only hot spots: Aude, Roussillon and Haute-Corse, which are already subject to water restrictions. The outlook for drought is also receding taking into account the flow of rivers, the level of which is above average. As well as the humidity of the soils, which “are almost two months behind the drying normally observed at this time”, explains Simon Mittelberger.

If farmers, who have seen the health of their crops greatly affected by the excess precipitation, deplore the situation, it could prevent France from seeing a repeat of the tense scenario of the last two summers.

Summer will be hotter

One unknown remains: what will the weather be like this summer? Météo France has published a trend bulletin, predicting, unsurprisingly, “a warmer than normal scenario”, especially in the Mediterranean regions. As for precipitation, the public agency has not discerned any trend.

Potential drought situations depend on several factors: available reserves, rainfall, but also the type of water consumption. However, the latter varies. A territory with little agriculture, where irrigation is rare, with low economic activity, will be less exposed to restrictions, even if it does not rain for a long time. Conversely, a moderate rainfall deficit can have a greater impact on tourist areas, very agricultural or with intense economic activity. A complex equation.

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