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WEATHER

Update: South west and western France on alert for snow and ice

UPDATED: Nine departments in the south west and western France were on alert for snow and ice on Monday afternoon.

Update: South west and western France on alert for snow and ice

The departments that can expect snow showers are Ariege, Aude, Tarn, Pyrénées-Orientales and Haute-Garonne, Haute-Pyrénées all in the region of Occitanie.

On top of those, the Pyrénées-Atlantiques in the south west and Charente-Maritime and Deux-Sevres in the west are also on alert for snow showers. 

The alerts will remain in place until Tuesday morning.

Members of the public have been asked to take extreme precaution especially when travelling by car, which should be avoided if possible.

The country's weather agency Météo France lifted weather warnings that had been in place in the north of the country.

Earlier on Monday it was the Paris region and parts of Normandy that had been on alert for snow and ice.

The reason for the alerts was due to overnight snow, between 1cm and 3cm on average, although local areas saw up to 5cm.

Although there was only light snow and nothing compared to last month's snowy period the fact temperatures remained slightly below zero on Monday morning meant the snow and ice caused problems for certain travellers.

In certain areas lorries were barred from the main roads, including on the RN 118 road in Île-de-Fance until Monday afternoon.

France's traffic monitor Bison Futé warned that driving might be difficult on the motorways, A13, A28, A1 and the N154 in the Île-de-France region.

Paris police chief Michael Delpuech warned motorists to avoid taking their cars until Monday afternoon.

Paris transport authority RATP said that the Metro and RER train services were running as normal although certain bus routes had been affected by the snow.

Temperatures are to remain chilly for much of the week although France should warm up gradually as the week progresses, weather agency Météo France forecasts.

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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