Temperatures plummet to -10C as Siberian freeze sweeps across France

A Siberian freeze is sweeping across France from Russia this week, leaving much of the country experiencing sub-zero temperatures with some areas expecting temperatures to drop as low as -10C.

Temperatures plummet to -10C as Siberian freeze sweeps across France
File photo: AFP
Tuesday and Wednesday are expected to be the coldest days of the week, according to France's national weather agency Meteo France as the so-called “Moscow- Paris” icy weather front blows in.
And high winds are expected to “significantly accentuate the feeling of cold” in parts of the country, where due to the wind chill factor it could feel as cold as -18C, according to the agency. 
In total, 37 “cold weather plans” have been activated across France which will see an extra 3,000 beds made available for homeless people during the big freeze. 
Between Monday and Wednesday, Météo-France forecasts minimum temperatures of -6 C to -10C over the majority of the eastern half of the country including Bourgogne-Franche-Comté region and the Grand-Est regions. 
In Paris the mercury was to drop to minus 5C for three consecutive mornings. The last time that happened was back in 1986.
Meanwhile the mercury is set to drop to between 0C and -4C in the Mediterranean and -2C and -6C in the west of the country. 
“The highest temperatures will be negative over the majority of the northeast which will hit -4 to 0 degrees,” said Meteo France.
“In the northern half of the country, the northeast wind, which is increasing to 60 to 70 km / h, will significantly accentuate the feeling of cold,” the agency said.  
The tweet below shows how cold temperatures will feel with the wind chill.
Three departments in the south east of the country – Alpes-Maritime, Alpes-de-Haute-Provence and Var  – are also on orange alert — the second highest warning — for snow and ice. 
The public there are warned to take precautions due the risk posed by the cold weather. 
In general health authorities in France are advising people to keep young children and elderly people indoors.  
They are also recommending the public to limit physical activity and make sure they are well-covered when outdoors to avoid frostbite, hypothermia and aggravating cardiovascular risks. 
France's environment management agency (ADEME) has called on everyone to limit their electricity consumption particularly between the hours of 6 pm and 8 pm.
Fears for the homeless
In France, where temperatures are forecast to drop to minus 10 degrees Celsius (14 degrees Fahrenheit) and feel as low as minus 18 C over the coming days, fears are running high for people living on the streets.
A homeless man in the city of Valence in the country's southeast was found dead on Sunday, and another man was found dead in his cabin in the suburbs of Paris on Friday.
France has opened up extra emergency shelters for the homeless, and in Calais in northern France, about 200 migrants were spared the cold on Saturday night.
Over a year after the French government razed the sprawling Jungle camp, there are still hundreds of migrants around the port of Calais, hoping to stow away on trucks to Britain.
“I'm lucky to be in here where it's warm, outside it's impossible because of the cold,” 20-year-old Afghan Shafiq said.


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.