Is France finally set for a cold winter this year?

Will this winter in France bring frosty mornings, snowflakes and ski weekends... or will it be another ridiculously mild one?

Is France finally set for a cold winter this year?
Photo: AFP
A German forecaster sparked excitement and a little nervousness by predicted that Europe will be hit by the coldest winter in a century this year.
But the reality is that if you're hoping to go ice skating on a frozen River Seine in Paris this winter then you can (probably) think again. 
The first winter forecasts are out, and while they're pretty vague at best (winter doesn't start for two more months after all), the experts seem to agree that it won't be teeth-chatteringly cold all winter.
A forecaster with Météo France suggested the prediction by German counterpart Dominik Jung was a wind up.
In fact, meteorologists have predicted a rather mild season, with some even forecasting average temperatures to be up to one degree Celcius above seasonal norms. 
Although it should at least be slightly colder than the last one.
“This winter will be more or less mild on the whole, but not as much as it has been over the last three years, especially last winter which was France's warmest since 1900,” Régis Crépet, a meteorologist at Météo Consult told the Direct Matin newspaper
He added that temperatures would likely be between 0.5C and 1C warmer than a typical winter. 
“But there will be variations. We're expecting mild weather for around 70 percent of the season, with the other 30 percent containing potential surprises that could leave us with harsher conditions.”
“January will see occasional cold and rainy spells, which will be beneficial for the ski resorts.”
So perhaps that ice skating will be on the cards after all, if not on the Seine than at least somewhere in France. 
National weather agency Météo France is yet to offer its seasonal forecast (it won't until the end of November), but it has also hinted that France will experience warmer temperatures. 
It noted that for the beginning of winter, “northern Europe and the Mediterranean will be hotter than normal”.
The winter in France, by definition, starts on December 21st and will run until March 19th.
Last year's mild winter meant bad news for France's ski resorts and contributed to the fact France lost its crown as the world's top skiing destination.
In recent days resorts in the Alps have had some dustings of snow raising hopes that unlike last year, the slopes should open on time in the late autumn.

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South west France on red alert for flooding

Five areas in south west France have been placed on a red weather alert for flooding as storms lash the region.

South west France on red alert for flooding
Storms are moving in to south west France over the Pyrenees. Photo: Anne-Christine Poujoulat/AFP

Météo France has placed five départements in south west France – Pyrénées-Atlantiques, Landes, Hautes-Pyrénées, Haute-Garonne and Ariège – on a red weather alert for heavy rains and flooding.

Extremely heavy rainstorms have hit the area, with a band of storm clouds travelling along the Pyrenees, bringing the risk of avalanches in the mountains and flooding in lowland areas.

The neighbouring département of Pyrénées-Orientale is on orange alert, along with the principality of Andorra. In the north, Aisne is also on orange alert for heavy rain.

Heavy rain is expected to continue throughout Monday, gradually easing off towards the evening, although the flood alerts remain in place until Tuesday.