SHARE
COPY LINK

WEATHER

France experiences coldest April night since 1947

The French weather forecaster Météo France recorded temperatures of -9C on Sunday night, the coldest April night on record since 1947.

France experiences coldest April night since 1947
Photo by GUILLAUME SOUVANT / AFP

Overnight frosts were seen across almost all of the France, with the exception of the Paris area and the northern and Mediterranean coasts, with the coldest temperatures recorded in the Champagne area.

While Champagne went down to -9C parts of the south west also recorded temperatures of -5C, leaving wine producers very worried about frost damage to their vines.

Also affected are farmers and fruit growers.

The president of France’s largest agricultural union FNSEA told Le Parisien that the frost had “hit hard” during the night and would have “very serious” consequences.

“It’s very serious, it hit hard overnight, as Météo France had predicted, the temperature went down to -5C, many arboriculturists are affected, what suffered are above all the stone fruits”, said Christiane Lambert. “There are many affected regions such as Dordogne, Burgundy, Alsace, Centre-Val de Loire, Lot-et-Garonne, Maine-et-Loire.”

Many vineyard owners have put candles or lamps out in their fields in an attempt to prevent the vines from freezing, as forecasters predict another two nights of low temperatures and morning frosts.

France’s grape harvest was badly hit by late frosts in 2021, leading to a much reduced wine production, although vineyard owners say it is too early to assess the scale of the damage this year. 

Member comments

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.

ENVIRONMENT

French riviera: Unesco tsunami warning for Marseille and Cannes

Unesco has announced that the Mediterranean - including the French cities of Marseille and Cannes - will be at risk of tsunamis within the next 30 years, and therefore has included it in its tsunami protection program

French riviera: Unesco tsunami warning for Marseille and Cannes

The risk of tsunamis in the Mediterranean Sea is real – on October 16th, 1979, a tsunami, caused by a landslide, hit the coast of Nice and killed a dozen people. More recently, the Greek island of Samos in the Aegean Sea was hit by a tsunami in 2020.

But the climate crisis and rising sea levels mean that experts fear that in the future they will no longer be rare events along the Mediterranean coast.

Unesco has therefore announced that it will be adding thousands of communities to its Tsunami Ready Plan, including the French cities of Marseille and Cannes.

Experts fear that tsunamis in the Mediterranean could reach up to a metre in height and are almost guaranteed in the next 30 years.

According to Unesco’s calculations, “there is a 100% chance” that tsunamies will occur in the Mediterranean “over the next thirty years.” Therefore, the UN organisation has called for public authorities to institute their multistep programme, which would encourage awareness, warning, and prevention mechanisms for at-risk coastal communities. 

The preparedness program seeks to ensure that these cities and towns, like Marseille and Cannes, will have the necessary response mechanisms in place by 2030.

The Tsunami Ready program, which has already been piloted in dozens of communities across the Caribbean, Pacific and Indian Ocean regions and was prepared by Unesco experts, establishes twelve indicators to be respected by the communities concerned. This means that Marseille and Cannes will be expected create plans for identifying tsunamis threats and build community awareness and preparation for how to cope with tsunamis.

The twelve readiness indicators are shown in the graphic below:

Communities must meet all 12 indicators, which cover Assessment, Preparedness, and Response, will be recognized as ‘Tsunami Ready’ by the UNESCO/IOC.

Tsunamis are usually caused by seismic activity (78 percent of them) – like the deadly Indian Ocean tsunami in 2004 that killed over 210,000 people, but 10 percent are also caused by volcanic activity and landslides, like the tsunami that hit the Pacific island of Tonga in January. Meanwhile, the rare 2 percent are caused by meteorological activity.

However, the increased concern for tsunamis along France’s Mediterranean coast is in part due to rising sea levels (resulting from the climate crisis) and the need to better monitor underwater volcanos.

Rising sea levels can lead to an increase in the power of tsunamis – up to tenfold. In some parts of the world, such as Macao, scientists estimate that  tsunamis will have twice their current impact by 2050.

Even a tsunami of 50cm high can do a lot of damage – what sounds like a small flow of water is actually capable of lifting a car and depositing it several dozen meters away.

SHOW COMMENTS