The drought spreads and intensifies in France

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The first four months of the year were loss-making in matter rainfall in France: -41% in January, -38% in February, -38% in March and -25% in April. According to Meteo France, the average cumulative rainfall over the whole country is the lowest in 11 years. This accumulation corresponds to what was found at the same time for major historic droughts 1976, 1993, 1997 and 2011. After a month of December 2021 marked by excess precipitation, the drought January and February did not yet appear to be important, but the situation worsened in March and April, when the spring rains are supposed to play a beneficial role.

The PACA region had never experienced such a lack of rain

In Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur (PACA), the most affected region, the rainfall deficit is 38% in April according to Weather report France, and it stands at 58% over the first four months of the year. As regards the period from the beginning of January to the end of April, this is the highest deficit value recorded since 1958, that is to say since the beginning of the records. The fault of anticyclonic blocking situations and repetitive southerly flows (particularly responsible for the clouds of sand over France).

After the South-East, the Grand Est region and the north of New Aquitaine are also strongly impacted by the drought: however, in these two areas, the situation has improved slightly thanks to the April rains. The rain deficit is also significant over a large northern part of the country. In Paris-Montsouris, no significant rain has been collected (at least one millimeter in 24 hours) since April 15. The posts of Dieppe, Beauvais, Abbeville, Amiens, Charleville-Mézières, Reims and Troyes also did not receive significant rain during the last 15 days of April 2022. On the northern half of the country, the wind from northeast has played an important role: it is the driest of the winds and this largely dominated during the month of April.

The lack of precipitation does not only cause a superficial soil dryness, but also impacts groundwater. Their level is low in the PACA region, Grand Est, Nouvelle-Aquitaine and Poitou-Charentes according to the BRGM.

Seasonal trends predict worsening drought

No improvement to be expected concerning the rains before at least 10 to 15 days according to the data of Meteo France. The weather will remain rather dry until at least May 20, despite some stormy showers, the dryness of the soil will therefore continue to worsen. ” The month of May is always associated with a drop in soil humidity, this is normal, but the drought is much stronger and premature than normal. It corresponds to a situation in June, or even July depending on the region, according to Francois Jobard of Meteo France. Soils act as a reservoir of water, and currently the reservoir is draining far too quickly. »

As next week promises to be warm and sunny again, the seasonal trends from Météo France, a global outlook for the next three months, again forecast drier than average weather in the south. In May, June and July, the southern half should again be under the regular influence of the anticyclone with dry and calm weather. In the north, on the other hand, no weather trend does not emerge as a priority for the coming months.

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