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WEATHER

IN PICTURES: See how the icy spell is making France shiver

France is in the grip of the iciest spell in five years as a cold front from Russia meddles in the country's winter weather system. But at least it makes for some striking photographs as well as some disturbing ones.

IN PICTURES: See how the icy spell is making France shiver
A snow covered tree near Belmont in the Jura department of eastern France. Photo: AFP

Here's a look at the how the coldest spell in five years is making France shiver.

Frozen trees near the town of Belmont in eastern France.

It's also time to don the snow shoes if you near Belmont in the Jura department of eastern France.

And snow covered the vineyards of Beaujolais.

The Mediterranean island of Corsica, normally known for its sun and pristine seas in the summer has also been on alert for snow and ice.

The picture below shows the village of Vivario, where thousands of homes were left without power on Monday.

There were also spectacular images of the village of Bocognano, which was also hit by power cuts.

It was time to wrap up warm in the central city of Lyon, which has seen snowfalls in recent days.

But the cold spell has meant bad news for homeless people in Paris, many of whom are still sleeping out on the streets, often on heating vents or anywhere they can get warm.

And a frozen Velib bike saddle in Paris.

Don't be fooled by this picture of Nice on the French Riviera. The mercury is as low as -1.7C.

 

Of course, Chamonix in the Alps is looking as spectacular as ever. 

The countryside of central France, this time in Ain, is looking pretty under a dusting of snow. 

But just for a little perspective. This year's big chill is nothing like that of 1879, when the River Seine froze over. Check out the pic below.

 

Got any winter pictures from France? Send them to [email protected]

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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.

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