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Is France facing more floods this spring?

The Local France
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Is France facing more floods this spring?
A woman walks with an umbrella in the rain in the southern France city of Montpellier. (Photo by Pascal GUYOT / AFP)

France has once again faced severe flooding, the latest in a series of weather alerts after months of heavy rain - so what's the forecast for the next few months?

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Parts of southern France were hit by violent storms and floods over the weekend, which swept away cars and led to at least four deaths.

The latest round of flooding comes after an exceptionally wet winter that has left fields saturated and rivers brimming.

As such, many have wondered whether heavy rains are expected to continue or if the weather will dry up in the coming weeks and months.

The situation coming out of winter

One of the country's national weather services, La Chaîne Météo, said that the country recorded "an average rainfall surplus of around 12 percent."

France's organisation for geological and mineral research (BRGM) noted in their February bulletin that underground water tables were 'generally satisfactory' levels and in a better position than in comparison with the previous year.

Certain parts of the country got more rain - and flooding - than others, including the western and northern regions, as well as higher elevation areas in the east.

Among the départements, Pas-de-Calais stood out after suffering several episodes of heavy rain and flooding. Meanwhile, the Provence Alpes Côte d'Azur region saw two 'intense' storms in February. 

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As for sunny days, meteorologist Cyrille Duchesne from La Chaîne Météo told Le Figaro that February 2024 was "one of the least sunny Februarys in recent years."

Paris saw a 60 percent decrease in sunshine in comparison to the previous year. Reims and Brest had even more clouds, with a 70 percent and 67 percent decrease in sunshine respectively.

Predictions for the spring

In Météo-France published its three-month prediction for spring at the end of February, noting that the season would likely see "warmer than normal air masses" across much of Europe. 

Méteo-France wrote that there was a 50 percent chance spring 2024 would be warmer than normal in France. 

Regarding precipitation and flooding, the weather service wrote that there was "no scenario favoured in France" in terms of whether or not the rains would continue. 

La Chaîne Météo came to slightly different conclusions in its seasonal forecast for April, May and June, predicting that from May onwards the country would start to see "dry and hot weather."

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The meteorologists agreed that France would likely see temperatures above seasonal averages between April-June.

However, in the short-term, La Chaîne Météo expected weather to remain "humid", especially in the western and southern parts of the country which could see "precipitation at slightly higher than average levels" for the season.

The experts also predicted that generally throughout the April-June period "precipitation would be close to average levels, with a tendency to dry out in May and June".

That being said, during the month of May, La Chaîne Météo theorised that the hot weather could be "punctuated by storms", before reminding readers that advanced weather predictions can be subject to change.

They noted that storms could be seen across the entire territory in May, but especially in the south and near higher altitude areas like the Pyrenees and Alps mountain ranges.

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Comments (1)

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Louise 2024/03/12 22:58
In contrast to the north of France, these floods in the southern départements come after months of barely any significant rainfall. I live just north of Narbonne on the border between Aude and Hérault, and our local rivers are almost dry.

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