Warm winter sparks early pollen alerts in France

Seven French départements have already issued warnings for high pollen levels after the unusually warm winter has seen trees flowering exceptionally early.

Warm winter sparks early pollen alerts in France
Photo: AFP/ RNSA

Bad news for hay fever sufferers – high pollen counts are here already in some parts of France.

The départements of Vosges, Haut-Rhin, Bas-Rhin, Vaucluse, Bouches-du-Rhône, Aude and Pyrénées-Orientales are on the red level of pollen alert while a further 11 areas in the south and east of the country are at the orange level.

Despite it being only February, pollen from alder and cypress trees is already at a high level due to the unusually warm winter – which saw temperatures of up to 27C recorded in France at the beginning of February.

MAP: The parts of France now most at risk from extreme weather

Map: Réseau national de surveillance aérobiologique

The Réseau national de surveillance aérobiologique (RNSA) which creates the pollen alert maps says the high levels are likely to last at least another month.

RNSA spokesman Samuel Monnier told France Info: “The mild temperatures favour the dispersion of pollens in the air.

“It's going to last, for cypress pollens, another good month around the Mediterranean. After that, there will be grasses and other species of trees.

“With climate change, we have longer seasons and higher concentrations of pollen in the air.”


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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.