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WEATHER

Snow forecast to hit Paris region over weekend

The French state weather forecaster has issued a warning for snow and ice for the Paris region and the northern Hauts-de-France this weekend.

Snow forecast to hit Paris region over weekend
Paris in the snow in 2018. Photo: AFP

Météo France has issued an orange weather warning for snow and ice for the whole of the greater Paris Île-de-France region and the neighbouring Hauts-de-France region covering Friday night and Saturday morning.

The snow is not expected to be deep – 10cm maximum and more like 1-3cms in Paris – but the warning is because it may disrupt transport systems or make driving difficult.

 

Météo France said the snowfall is expected to be “a classic snowy episode for the season, but requiring particular vigilance as it could make traffic conditions difficult.”

The Alsace area of eastern France saw heavy snowfall overnight on Thursday and more snow is expected in the east over the weekend.

IN PICTURES: North east France blanketed in snow

Snow in Paris has been rare in recent years, although February 2018 saw the city coated in a picturesque white covering – prompting locals to head out to the nearest hill (Buttes-Chaumont was popular) with their skis to make the most of it.

 

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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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