SHARE
COPY LINK

WEATHER

Dordogne and Nice under snow as France freezes

The Dordogne region in France was on alert on Thursday after heavy snowfalls overnight, which reportedly left thousands of residents without electricity.

Dordogne and Nice under snow as France freezes
Schoolchildren play in the snow in Lyon, eastern France on January 15th. Photo: Jeff Pachoud/AFP

The Dordogne is better known as a summer destination, attracting thousands of tourists each year but it has fallen victim to the cold snap that has swept across France.

France's BFMTV reported  that around 4,500 residents remained without electricity on Thursday after power went down on Wednesday evening. The winter weather has even hit the French Riviera where residents in Nice awoke to a a covering of snow, local paper Nice Matin reported. A motorway along the Côte d'Azur had to be closed.

Seven departments in the west of France have also been placed on alert for snow and black ice, as temperatures remain well below freezing throughout the country.

Most of the country awoke on Thursday morning to temperatures of between -7° and -3° C, but some areas started their day with the mercury falling as low as -11° C. 

National weather service  Meteo France reported that between 10pm on Thursday and 6pm on Friday, residents in the western regions of Brittany, Loire-Atlantique, the Vendée and La Manche should be on their guard for freezing rain as well as snowfall of 6 to 10 cm.

The regions have been placed on orange alert, the second highest level of warning.

A storm front is expected to hit the Atlantic coast on Thursday evening, bringing snow with it, and will push east across the rest of France overnight, with an average snowfall of  3 to 6 cm, reported French newspaper Le Parisien on Thursday.

To make matters worse, coastal areas in the west should expect strong south-easterly winds.

Meanwhile, there was some relief for the Pyrenees region after an avalanche red alert, imposed on Wednesday, was lifted.

Have you been affected by the wintery conditions in western and southern France? Send in your photos to [email protected]

Member comments

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.

CLIMATE CRISIS

Scorching summer was France’s second hottest on record

Three heatwaves since June produced France's second-hottest summer since records began in 1900, the Météo France weather service said on Tuesday, warning that scorching temperatures will be increasingly common as the climate crisis intensifies.

Scorching summer was France's second hottest on record

With 33 days of extreme heat overall, average temperatures for June, July and August were 2.3C above normal for the period of 1991-2020.

It was surpassed only by the 2003 heatwave that caught much of France unprepared for prolonged scorching conditions, leading to nearly 15,000 heat-related deaths, mainly among the elderly.

Data is not yet available for heat-related deaths this summer, but it is likely to be significantly lower than 15,000 thanks to preventative measures taken by local and national authorities. 

Most experts attribute the rising temperatures to the climate crisis, with Météo France noting that over the past eight summers in France, six have been among the 10-hottest ever.

By 2050, “we expect that around half of summer seasons will be at comparable temperatures, if not higher,” even if greenhouse gas emissions are contained, the agency’s research director Samuel Morin said at a press conference.

The heat helped drive a series of wildfires across France this summer, in particular a huge blaze in the southwest that burned for more than a month and blackened 20,000 hectares. 

Unusually, wildfires also broke out even in the normally cooler north of the country, and in total an area five times the size of Paris burned over the summer. 

Adding to the misery was a record drought that required widespread limits on water use, with July the driest month since 1961 – many areas still have water restrictions in place.

MAP: Where in France are there water restrictions and what do they mean?

Forecasters have also warned that autumn storms around the Mediterranean – a regular event as air temperatures cool – will be unusually intense this year because of the very high summer temperatures. A storm that hit the island of Corsica in mid August claimed six lives. 

“The summer we’ve just been through is a powerful call to order,” Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne said on Monday, laying out her priorities for an “ecological planning” programme to guide France’s efforts against climate change.

SHOW COMMENTS