France to face early heat wave from Wednesday - state forecaster

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FILE PHOTO: Power-generating windmill turbines and the church of Noreuil village are pictured during sunset at a wind park near Cambrai

PARIS (Reuters) - An early heat wave is expected to hit France this week, the state forecaster Meteo France said on Sunday, with temperatures reaching up to 38 Celsius (100 Fahrenheit) in the south.

The heat wave will affect the southern part of the country first, although how far it will spread to the north is uncertain, Meteo France said.

Temperatures could reach 35 to 38 degrees Celsius from the middle of the week until the weekend, and are not expected to drop below 20 degrees, the meteorological service predicted.

Meteo France said this year's heat wave is set to arrive unusually early, with temperatures predicted seen normally at the height of summer.

This is due to a low-pressure system located between the Azores islands and Madeira in the Atlantic, which favours the uprising of warm air over Western Europe.

The state forecaster said it expected the peak of the heat wave in France to take place between Thursday and Saturday.

Neighbouring Spain is currently experiencing in the hottest pre-summer heatwave for at least 20 years.

Temperatures reached 40C (104 Fahrenheit) in the Guadalquivir valley in Seville and the nearby city of Cordoba on Saturday, the national meteorological office AEMET said.

(Reporting by Mathieu Rosemain, Editing by Louise Heavens)

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