France set for wintry weekend with snow forecast for the north

Parts of France will experience a sudden end to spring this weekend with temperatures set to plunge. Snow is even forecast for parts of the north of the country.

France set for wintry weekend with snow forecast for the north

While Friday will be fairly mild and wet across the country, Saturday will see the Mercury dip throughout France and with it comes the prospect of snow.

“A new cold airflow from Scandinavia will hit France causing a dramatic drop in temperatures, well below seasonal averages, associated with a return of more winter conditions especially in the north of the country,” said weather agency Météo France.

This icy spell will be no “Beast from the East” that hit western Europe from Siberia last month but Météo France says it is “remarkable” given how late it is in the season.

The cool air coming down from Scandinavia will hit the north of France on Saturday morning before moving off to the south and west.

The map below from La Chaine Météo shows which parts of France could be hit by a dusting of snow on Saturday, which includes the greater Paris region of Île-de-France.

However the snow is unlikely to settle given that the ground has warmed up significantly since “the Beast from the East” moved off.

According to forecasters there could be up to 15cm of snow locally in the north of Brittany and the Manche department of Normandy on Saturday night into Sunday morning.

There is also a light risk of snow across the country on Sunday as shown in the tweet below.

The cold spell is set to continue into next week with temperatures forecast to dip as low as -10C in the Massif-central and the north east of the country.

In general on Monday temperatures will be between 5C to 8C lower than average for the time of year across France.

Temperatures will rise steadily throughout next week as spring makes a return, hopefully staying put this time.


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.