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HEATWAVE

Record-breaking heat: What temperatures can we expect in France this week?

Temperature records were broken across France on Monday as the searing heatwave continues - here's a look at the forecast for the week and when the heatwave is expected to break.

Record-breaking heat: What temperatures can we expect in France this week?
A road sign reads "Extreme Heat, drink water" as France experiences an extreme heatwave. Photo by Loic VENANCE / AFP

Monday saw red heat warnings for 15 départements on the west of the country and dozens of towns recorded their highest ever temperatures.

The mercury hit 39.3C in Brest on the Atlantic coast in the far northwest of the country compared with a previous record of 35.1C from 2002.

Saint-Brieuc on the Channel coast sizzled in 39.5C compared with a previous record of 38.1C, while western Nantes recorded 42C, beating a previous high of 40.3C set in 1949.

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The all-time high temperature recorded in mainland France dates to 2019 when the southern village of Verargues, north-east of Montpellier, experienced 46C, this was not broken although large parts of the rest of France saw temperatures over 40C on Monday.

The west coast, especially the north west, is usually one of the cooler areas of the country but this time was not spared by the heat.

Tuesday

Overnight from Monday to Tuesday the temperature did not drop below 25C anywhere, making for some sticky and uncomfortable nights, but from Tuesday morning the temperature will start to drop.

The drop will begin in the west, where temperatures are expected to fall sharply – 15C-20C in just a couple of hours. Further east, including Paris, temperatures will stay very high – above 40C – until Tuesday evening.

Overnight Tuesday there is a risk of stormy showers as the temperature falls suddenly.

Wednesday onwards

Rain showers, some heavy and with thunder, are likely on Wednesday but from Wednesday onwards temperatures will be back to seasonal norms – 25C-30C in the north and 30C-35C in the south. 

Fires

The intense heatwave has already caused multiple forest fires in France and elsewhere, and some farmers have taken to working at night to minimise the risk of a spark from their harvesting equipment starting a fire that destroys their crops.

Firefighters are still battling to control two massive wildfires in Gironde, south west France, where an area the size of Paris has already burned. Thousands of locals and tourists have been evacuated as the fires continue to rage.

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WEATHER

Snow forecast in Paris as France shivers in early December chill

The French capital is set to see December snow this weekend, as temperatures dip across the country.

Snow forecast in Paris as France shivers in early December chill

Paris is expected to see its first snow of winter this weekend, with temperatures falling to between one and three degrees.

As France’s hottest year on record enters its final month, a small amount of snow is forecast in the greater Paris region on Friday evening – specifically Yvelines and part of Val-d’Oise, while rain in Essonne will mix with snow. Overnight, flurries are expected in Seine-Saint-Denis and into Paris itself – but no more than a dusting is expected.

Snow, this early in the season, is unusual in the capital. In 2010, 11 centimetres fell on December 9th, paralysing the city’s public transport system. It was the worst snowfall in the city in 25 years – and has not been repeated since. Generally, snow in Paris does not stick around.  

It’s not just the capital that it will feel chilly, Saturday will be cold across a large part of the country, as temperatures finally drop below seasonal norms, by as much as 5 degrees in some parts of France. Rain is forecast in the south, while the north will remain cloudy.

Some light overnight frosts are possible, according to Météo France, while temperatures are expected to reach between 3C and 6C in the north of the country, 7C to 9C further south, and up to 13C around the Mediterranean.

READ ALSO ‘We’re not in a disaster movie’ – How likely are blackouts in France this winter?

On Saturday, rain is expected in the south-east, which could bring a few centimetres of snow to the Massif Central at altitudes as low as 400m. 

On Sunday, some light snowfall may occur in the north-east, perhaps spreading as far as the historic Limousin area – but it is not expected to last. 

The Southern Alps should also see some snowfall on Saturday, and again on Sunday afternoon. A few flakes could also fall on the western part of the Pyrenees on Saturday afternoon, forecasters at Météo France said.

The cold spell will be shortlived, with temperatures rising again in the south of the country from Monday-Tuesday, and will do nothing to prevent 2022 setting climate records in France.

READ ALSO France’s ‘coldest village’ has its first frost-free October on record

Météo France said that global warming means cold periods in France are indeed increasingly rare and less intense. The winters of 2014 to 2021 were all “above normal”, while four of the five warmest winters on record were in 2007, 2014, 2016 and 2020.

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