Weather Warnings, Heatwaves and Water Restrictions

Information and links to daily French government information on the heat warnings and water restrictions for the summer season...

MeteoFrance issues national weather warnings. These are published on a map updated twice daily.
  • For up-to-the minute weather warnings visit MeteoFrance
There are four categories of alert, they are:
Green: No warnings in place
Yellow: Minor alert
Orange: High alert, dangerous meteorological conditions are forecast
Red: Maximum alert, severe and dangerous weather conditions. Precautions to be taken
These degrees of alert may be further clarified into the follow types of bad weather conditions. They are identified as:
  • Violent winds (vent violent)
  • Extremely heavy rain (pluie-inondation)
  • Thunderstorms (orage)
  • Snow and ice (neige-verglas)
  • Heatwave / extreme temperatures (canicule)


Each summer France runs a heatwave warning system, the plan canicule, intended to prevent and fight against the medical consequences of a heat wave. Weather reports on TV, radio and in newspapers will quote the four levels of alert with orange being a high alert and red maximum mobilisation.
  • Level 1: No alert in place
  • Level 2: Pre-alarm: Heat wave forecast for three days. Preventions and protection to be put into effect
  • Level 3: Alarm: Effective heat wave. People to behave appropriately
  • Level 4: Maximum mobilisation: Heat wave with severe medical impact expected
People are recommended to take precautions by staying out of direct heat and sun and drinking water regularly. Special care should be taken of the young, elderly and ill.

Weather warnings

Drought and Water

During periods of low rainfall, water restrictions may be imposed in certain dry areas of France. The Ministère d'Ecologie et du Développement website carries regular updates on communes in which restrictions have been imposed as well as what those restrictions are. Once water restrictions are in force, local government will make a map available showing the levels of restrictions in each area. Map colours describe the dryness conditions which are describes by four categories:
  • Class 1 (white): Situation normal, no restrictions apply
  • Class 2 (yellow): Period of vigilance with some restrictions applying
  • Class 3 (orange): Serious situation limiting irrigation and use of mains water
  • Class 4 (red): Situation serious, exceptional drought and dryness with water restrictions usually prohibiting irrigation and limiting use of mains water

Local restrictions

The departmental office of the Préfecture announces the restrictions. Generally these limit or prohibit use of domestic tap water to water gardens, wash cars or boats and fill swimming pools. Some restrictions on crop irrigation may also be imposed. Restrictions are usually applied to the use of all water, whether from private wells, bore holes, streams or from the piped water supply (although not re-cycled water).

Emergency Numbers

  • SAMU (ambulance/medical): 15
  • Fire service: 18
  • Pan-European emergency number: 112