Skip to content

Even with thunderstorms, the drought won’t go away in a flash

Boris Jordan Photography/Getty Images In total, 19 departments are placed on orange vigilance for thunderstorms and heavy rain by Météo France this Sunday, June 27 (illustrative photo taken in Bavaria in 2017).

Boris Jordan Photography/Getty Images

Storms burst from this afternoon in France, too scattered they will not stem the drought.

THUNDERSTORMS – Endless drought. The first storms which burst in France this Thursday August 4 in the Center-Val de Loire this afternoon then in Île-de-France in the evening, will unfortunately not put an end to the current interminable drought, observes Tristan Amm forecaster at Météo-France interviewed by The HuffPost.

The stormy front which will extend towards the east of France on Friday will cause the mercury to plummet, but not for everyone. If the thermometer drops to 27 ° C this evening in Paris, 26 departments of the south-eastern half already in heat wave orange vigilance will remain so, announces the forecasts of Météo-France. It will therefore continue to be very hot in the South, and for the regions which will be lucky enough to receive a few drops of rain, they will be far from sufficient.

A risk of a “dry” thunderstorm conducive to fires

“The expected storms are too scattered and will only sufficiently water the Pyrenees, the Alps and the Massif Central without bringing a lot of water to the plains”, explains Tristan Amm. In addition, the showers will be short-lived and will not be able to re-wet the soil: “ The water runs off directly into the streams and does not penetrate the land » explains Cyrille Duchesne, meteorologist for La Chaîne Météo on BFMTV.com. Clearly, storms will make it possible to wet the ground on the surface but the depth infiltration of water will be weak.

Especially since the storms may be “dry”, and the rain will not fall at all in the next few days. Dry thunderstorms form when temperatures are abnormally warm and humidity is low, “so the rain evaporates before it even hits the ground”, describes Tristan Amm. These storms without rain are conducive to the start of fires. But this phenomenon is to be qualified according to the forecaster, because only 10% of fires are triggered by a natural phenomenon.

In addition to the risk of forest fires, what worries more is the lack of rain since the beginning of the year: “We have monthly deficit rainfall rates nationwide and July 2022 was the driest month on record since 1959 and counting”, recalls Tristan Amm. This drought is dragging on and for the moment it has no end date, adds Damien Griffaut, deputy head of the climate and forecast service at Météo France in the South-East, interviewed by the daily. Nice morning : “We’re going back to a generally dry period for the next two weeks. With a rise in temperatures above normal and certainly an absence of rain. This contributes to accentuate the problem of soils…”

“We would like to avoid too heavy rains to avoid the risk of runoff” Tristan Amm, forecaster at Météo France.

While the ground is already sandy everywhere on the territory, “It is likely that this situation will worsen further, and that the absolute record for surface soil drought, which dates from 2003, will be beaten”specifies Cyrille Duchesne to BFMTV.com. Result: crops pay a high price. From potato producers in the North to grain farmers in the South, no farmer is spared. Yields are already in free fall: -21% for durum wheat, -16% for spring barley, according to data from Agreste, an agricultural statistics service attached to the Ministry of Agriculture.

For the fields to regain their splendor, it will take a lot of rain, but not too intense. “We would like to avoid too heavy rains to avoid the risk of runoff, continues Tristan Amm, we would prefer disturbances with stationary rains over several weeks to moisten the soil. Unfortunately this is not what we see at the moment…”

As droughts will become more recurrent and intense in the coming years, it is necessary to find solutions for watering the soil. Agriculture professionals are calling for increased irrigation capacity. “It can be a solution if we find a more economical mode of irrigation like drip,” we noted Philippe Debaeke, research director INRAE ​​(National research institute for agriculture, food and the environment). But in the face of global warming, even stronger adaptation measures will have to be found, he explains, such as the planting of more heat-resistant species or the migration of crops from the South to the North.

See also on The HuffPost: What alternatives to deal with the shortage of drinking water?

Read also:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.