A severe drop in temperatures across the country has led Météo France, the public meteorological service, to issue 11 orange alerts over snow and ice.
The following départements can expect significant snowfall late Thursday and into Friday: Loire, Haute Loire, Puy-de-Dôme, Creuse, Orne, Calvados, Eure, Seine-Maritime, Somme, Pas-de-Calais and Nord.
Some areas may receive as much as 10 cm of snowfall overnight.
Temperatures across the country had dropped by Thursday morning but Friday appears to be the day when snowfall will be widest, with temperatures hovering just above freezing in much of the country that night.
Meteorologist Gilles Matricon told Le Parisien that the abrupt change to the weather, which comes after weeks of pleasant temperatures and sunshine across much of France, is due to the collapse of an anticyclone that has hovered over northern Europe for about a month now.
“Cold air will descend from Scandinavia to France plunging us into winter,” he warned predicting a decline in temperatures of 10 C from Monday to Thursday.
The last of the snowflakes are predicted to fall on April 4th. The authorities are yet to issue a weather warning.
Frosty mornings have the potential to cause damage to a number of French agricultural sectors. Cold temperatures in April 2021 are estimated to have cost French vineyards upwards of €2 billion in damage, with about a third of all production lost.
The situation should not be as bad this time around, according to Matthieu Regimbeau, an agronomical engineer cited in Le Parisien.
“The frost will be less present and the temperatures will not drop too much at night,” he explained.
Colder temperatures are undoubtedly good news however, for ski resorts, who may be able to prolong their season thanks to a delayed melting of snow.