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WEATHER

Will anywhere in France get a white Christmas this year?

A white Christmas might be at the top of many people's festive wish list but will it actually come true for anyone in France this year?

Haut-Koenigsbourg castle in Orschwiller, eastern France.
Haut-Koenigsbourg castle in Orschwiller, eastern France. Non-mountainous parts of the country will not see snow this year. (Photo by PATRICK HERTZOG / AFP)

If you’re in France and have been dreaming of a white Christmas, you are probably out of luck. 

It has been freezing in recent days with temperatures falling to a low of -33.4C in Jura on Wednesday morning, but the cold spell isn’t going to last. 

Temperatures across the country will hover around the 10C level in most of France by the afternoon on December 25th according to Météo France, with parts of the country including Brittany and some parts of eastern France experiencing rainfall. 

By the afternoon on Christmas Day, the chances of snow look extremely limited. Source: www.meteofrance.com

On Saturday, there will be some snowfall, but only if you are high in the mountains at an altitude of 1,800-2,000m. On Sunday, places above 1,500m could also see snow – but this rules out the vast majority of the country. 

Roughly half the country will see sunshine over the weekend. The French weather channel said that this Christmas could be among the top five or six warmest since 1947. 

Last year, Météo France cautioned: “While we often associate snow with Christmas in the popular imagination, the probability of having snow in the plains [ie not in the mountains] during this period is weak in reality.”

One of the last great Christmas snowfalls, outside of France’s mountainous areas, came in 2010 when 3-10 cm of snow fell in Lille, Rouen and Paris. In Strasbourg, 26cm fell. 

On Christmas Day in 1996, 12 cm of snow fell in Angers – ironically, this was also the day that the film, Y’aura t’il de la neige à Noël? (Will there never be snow at Christmas?) was released. It had been ten years since France had seen such snowfall outside of the Alps and Pyrenees. 

Météo France directly attributes declining rates of Christmas snowfall to climate change. Compared to 50 years ago, even the Alps receives the equivalent one less month of snowfall per year. 

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WEATHER

September temperature records broken in France amid new heatwave

Much of the foliage in France is already looking distinctly autumnal, but another heatwave is forecast for this week, with some areas reaching 39C and 40C.

September temperature records broken in France amid new heatwave

After a cooler few weeks with temperatures dropping significantly at night, France is predicted to return to summer heat this week, with Météo France predicting temperatures of up to 39C in the south west.

Fears that Hurricane Danielle would hit Europe have proved unfounded, with the storm dispersing and instead turning into a simple low-pressure system that will bring warm weather up from North Africa. 

The hot weather began on Sunday in the south west, where Biarritz reached 31.5C and the region saw temperatures of up to 39C on Monday. 

Elsewhere in France temperatures were predicted to be 24C-30C in northern and central France and 29C-34C along the Mediterranean coast.

By mid-afternoon on Monday, over a hundred communes located mostly in the southwest and central France broke heat records for the month of September. 

Pau, located in the Pyrénées-Atlantiques département recorded 37.4C, exceeding its previous record of 36.3C from 1970. Several communes saw temperatures of higher than 35C. 

In Landes, the Bégaar weather station recorded temperatures of higher than 40C in the afternoon.

The hot weather is predicted to last until the middle of the week, when it will cool slightly, and there may be storms on some areas.

Many areas in France remain on drought alert with water restrictions in place.

MAP: Where in France are there water restrictions and what do they mean?

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