Is France heading for a glacial end of the year?

France on Tuesday recorded temperatures of -20C, with meteorologists saying it is headed towards the coldest winter solstice in 15 years.

People stare into the sunset in Nice. Tuesday is set to be the coldest winter solstice in France in 15 years.
Tuesday is set to be the coldest winter solstice in France in 15 years. (Photo by Valery HACHE / AFP)

The commune of Mouthe in eastern France recorded temperatures of -20C on Tuesday morning, the year’s shortest day. Temperatures between -3C and -5C were recorded in the Grand Est and Auvergne Rhône-Alpes regions.

Average temperature across the country of about 3C are predicted for Tuesday and Wednesday.

François Jobard of Météo France said that the country was probably heading towards the coldest winter solstice in 15 years, although he added that measuring temperatures around the winter solstice was not necessarily the best way to assess climatic trends, saying it is more worthwhile measuring average temperatures over a 15-day period. 

An extreme cold spell is currently gripping eastern Europe and while France should be spared for Christmas, New Year’s Eve celebrations might get chilly. 

December 25th is set to be drizzly across the majority of the country, although by the afternoon, temperatures will mostly be in the double digits. Eastern France will be dryer than western parts of the country, but by the evening, it is predicted to rain across the board. 

Map: Météo France

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UPDATE: Stormy weather alerts issued in France

France's meteorological service has issued orange alerts for storms in 21 départements urging the population to be vigilant.

UPDATE: Stormy weather alerts issued in France

Météo France has warned that much of the country will experience storms on Sunday. 

21 départements have been issued orange weather warnings. 

They include Landes, Gironde, Lot, Lot-et-Garonne, Dordogne, Charente, Charente-Maritime, Vienne, Haute-Vienne, Corrèze, Creuse, Cantal, Puy-de-Dôme, Rhône, Allier, Cher, Indre, Indre-et-Loire, Deux-Sèvres, Haute-Loire and Loire.

People living or visiting these areas are urged to “be very vigilant”. 

Forecasters predict hail and strong winds of up to 110km/h in some areas. Périgord, Limousin, Quercy and areas to the east of Poitou and Charentes are most likely to be battered by strong gusts. 

This weather is set to last until about 3AM on Monday. 

The storms will coincide with temperatures surpassing 30 degrees across much of the southern half of the country.

Last weekend, violent thunder storms left thousands of homes without electricity in northwestern France.