Snow, rain and thunderstorms head for France after record-breaking winter temperatures

France has already seen record-high February temperatures - but more normal winter weather is on the way with widespread storms and snow predicted from Tuesday evening.

Snow, rain and thunderstorms head for France after record-breaking winter temperatures
Photo: AFP

French weather forecaster Météo France is predicting storms and a sharp drop in temperatures starting on Tuesday evening in northern France then moving south over Wednesday to encompass the majority of the country.

The bad weather will start on the northern coast of France on Tuesday with thunderstorms and some hail.


Map: Méteo France

Strong winds are also forecast – 100km/h on the coast and 60-80 km/h inland – and the weather front will gradually move south and east over Tuesday night and in to Wednesday.

As well as the hail, snow is also forecast in several areas on Wednesday, including the greater Paris region of Île-de-France.

Méteo France said warmer ground temperatures means that the snow is unlikely to settle except on some higher ground.

The forecaster said it was expecting widespread snowfall over the Île-de-France region on Wednesday between 4pm and 7pm.

Map: Méteo France

The north and centre of the country are on yellow alert – the third level – for strong winds, storms, hail showers and snow on high ground.

Until now this winter has been unusually warm – with temperatures of 27C recorded in southern France in February.

The exceptionally warm weather has lead to a crisis for French ski resorts, many of which have had no snowfall and lead to one of the earliest ever pollen alerts.

READ ALSO French government holds crisis meeting over ski resorts with no snow

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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.