Despite its reputation as a haven from bad weather, the French Riviera does experience fall and winter seasons, during which it rains regularly. This year, there’s been more rain than usual.
Here in Nice, we’re lucky it’s just been lots of rain. In southwest France and the close-by department of Var, named for the river which usually flows thinly, there have been days on end of flooding. Likewise in the Aude, which has seen the worst damage from the unusual pattern of precipitation.
The periods of heavy rain are triggered by moist air rising from the warmer than usual Mediterranean Sea, then meeting the Alps and colder air.
Unlike their US counterparts when weather has becomes catastrophic of late, French officials don’t refrain from invoking “climate change” by means of explanation. The phenomenon has been tied to record heat during the last few summers, an increase in the stink bug population and the incidence of locally transmitted dengue fever. Chikungunya and West Nile viruses are other mosquito-borne diseases now present in southern France, due to climate change. By the end of the century, summer heat is expected to reach 50 degrees Celsius (122 Fahrenheit).
Will southern France become an ecological extension of North Africa? Do we have to be worried about the vineyards surviving? And camembert? Will there be any escape from extreme summer heat? Should we invest in air conditioning companies?
For now, the Niçois don’t seem too deterred from their regular Promenade habit by inclement times. In fact, you could say that the grey light and pounding waves only add to the ever-present romance in the air. Be merry.