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WEATHER

High winds and hailstorms: What weather can we expect in France this week

France's latest heatwave has largely abated but now storm warnings are in place for several areas - here's what we can expect from the weather this week.

High winds and hailstorms: What weather can we expect in France this week
Storms are predicted to hit much of France this week. (Photo by Philippe LOPEZ / AFP)

Last week saw scorching temperatures but for most of the country these fell over the long weekend, and many areas saw some very welcome rain.

However on Tuesday several areas are on orange alert for storms.

Tuesday

Five départements in the south of France – Aveyron, Tarn, Aude, Hérault and Gard – are on orange alert for violent storms, which are forecast to hit in the afternoon.

Flash flooding is possible, especially in the Languedoc area where up to 40mm of rain is predicted to fall in less than an hour, accompanied by 100km/h winds. 

The rest of the country is on yellow warning for rainstorms, and flash-flooding could be seen in other areas.

The combination of parched ground after weeks of drought and the sudden, intense downpours creates the perfect condition for localised flooding.

Temperatures have fallen about 10C since the weekend, and will be between 15C and 20C for most of the country.

Wednesday and Thursday

Although the high winds are predicted to have blown themselves out, storms are forecast for much of the country with thunder and heavy rain.

Temperatures will remain a cool 15C-20C.

Friday

Although rain remains likely in the north and east of the country the storms are set to be finished and sunny weather and warm temperatures return to the south.

All along the Mediterranean coast will be sunny all day with temperatures reaching 29C.

Weekend

A little rain and cloud are likely in the north and centre of the country, but largely the weather is predicted to be fine and sunny with temperatures ranging from 20C-25C in the north and 25C-29C in the south.

Drought

Unfortunately meteorologists predict that the storms will do little to help France’s drought, as much of the water from sudden storms is likely to run off the parched land, rather than soak in.

Water restrictions remain in place across almost all of France and experts say the water table is unlikely to be fully replenished until late September or early October. 

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

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FOOD & DRINK

Moules-frites in danger: Spider crabs wreak havoc on French mussel population

Warming sea temperatures are bringing more spider crabs to France's coastline, which could spell disaster for the French mussel industry.

Moules-frites in danger: Spider crabs wreak havoc on French mussel population

You may not be able to see it from land, but underwater, an invasive species of spider crabs are ravaging the mussel population on the Western coast of France.

In Normandy and Brittany, mussel farmers are struggling to control the expanding spider crab population – which normally migrates onward, but has stayed put on France’s coasts.

Experts believe the crabs, who feast on mussels and all manner of shellfish, have not continued in their migration due to warming water temperatures, as a result of the climate crisis.

This has left French mussel farmers worried that if the crab population is not controlled, then mussel production could end in the region within a decade. 

Some mussel farmers, like David Dubosco, have lost a significant amount of mussels in just the last year. Dubosco told TF1 that in 2022 he lost at least 150 tonnes.

(You can listen to The Local France team discuss the future of moules-frites in our new podcast episode below. Just press play or download it here for later.)

Dubosco is not alone in his experience. According to reporting by TF1, production across the board will be lower this year 2022, which means that the number of mussels imported from other countries will likely increase, a decision that will not be popular with French consumers who prefer homegrown mussels to make the classic moules-frites.

The proliferation of the spider crabs has been an ongoing problem for the last six years, but due to warming waters, more and more have stayed in French waters.

The crabs do not have many predators besides humans – as they are edible, but the supply has begun to outweigh demand. Additionally, the crabs have grown so big that traditional cages used to trap them are no longer effective, according to Actu France.

On September 21st, over 80 mussel producers staged a demonstration in front of the Manche préfecture in Saint-Lô to demand further measures against this invasive species.

“We have seen the proliferation of spider crabs and our alerts have gone unheeded by the administrative authorities. The species comes to feed on our stocks,” said Vincent Godefroy, head of the “Group of mussel farmers on bouchot” (Groupement des mytiliculteurs sur bouchot) to Actu France. 

In response, the Manche prefecture met with six representatives from the group, eventually publishing a a statement saying it would allow “for the experimentation of new measures” to combat the crabs, which would include dragging them out to sea.

Additionally, government actors and mussel farmers will work together this autumn to conduct a study on the economic value of spider crabs with goals of building up a new industry. The assessment will be made in November.

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