Temperatures in France to hit scorching 28C as winter warm spell peaks

The warm spell that began in France in mid-February will hit new highs this Wednesday, reaching temperatures of 28C in parts of the country.

Temperatures in France to hit scorching 28C as winter warm spell peaks
Photo: People enjoying the warm winter weather in Biarritz, AFP
The mercury is set to reach a whopping 28C in the south west department of Landes on Wednesday as France's warm spell continues, according to France's national weather agency Météo-France
The rest of the country is also expected to see the mercury shoot up, with numerous cities around France predicted to break temperature records. 
This continues a trend of record-breaking temperatures over the past few days: Lille hit 19.3C on Tuesday, topping the previous high of 18.9C on February 28th, 1960, while in Toulouse, the mercury reached 22.3C, slightly above the previous record of 22.1C reached on February 24th, 1990. 
Photo: Meteo France
In Paris, temperatures hit 19.3C on Tuesday afternoon, making it the warmest February 26th on record, easily surpassing the 1959 high of 17.6C. It was the tenth day this month with temperatures of at least 15C, which has not been seen since weather records began in Paris in 1873.
The warmest place in continental France, however, has been Saint-Jean-de-Luz in the Basque Country, where temperatures reached 26C on Tuesday – higher than the August average and 12C above readings typical of late February.
High temperatures have been the result of a powerful anticyclone dominating Western Europe that keeps skies relatively cloud-free. These clear skies will also lead to February’s sunshine record being broken throughout northern France within the next few days, say meteorologists. 
The rest of Western Europe has benefited from the gentle weather as well: the United Kingdom saw its February and winter temperature records broken, and parts of Spain, Belgium, and Denmark also recorded record highs.
Conditions will likely begin to change on Thursday as the high-pressure anticyclone retreats and is replaced by rain coming in from the English Channel and moving towards central France. The weekend is expected to be intermittently rainy, with snow arriving at higher altitudes. 

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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.