France issues first snow warnings of season as wintry weather arrives

The south east of France was braced for some rough wintry weather on Thursday with snow, icy conditions and torrential rain and flooding set to hit the region. Residents have been advised to take precautions.

France issues first snow warnings of season as wintry weather arrives
Illustration Photo: AFP

UPDATE: CLICK HERE to read the latest news on how heavy snow has caused widespread chaos in south-east France



The country's weather service Météo France placed 11 departments in the south east of the country on alert for either snow and ice or downpours that bring a risk of flooding.

The départéments of Saône-et-Loire, Rhône, Loire and Ardèche were placed on Orange alert – the second highest warning level – on Friday morning for snow and icy conditions. The départéments of Ain, Drôme and Isère were also placed on alert for the same wintery conditions on Wednesday evening. (see map below)

The winter weather warnings are due to remain in place until Friday morning. Météo France warns that the whole of the Rhône-Alpes region could see snowfall on Thursday afternoon.

Further south the départéments of Vaucluse, Bouches-du-Rhône and Var were on alert for heavy rainfall while Alpes-Maritimes and Var also had warnings in place for coastal flooding.

Residents in the départements with weather warnings in place were advised to take precaution when travelling and avoid unnecessary trips.

In areas at risk of flooding, drivers are warned not to attempt to cross roads that are submerged.

Those who live in coastal départéments are advised to avoid going near the sea. 


The general weather map for Thursday showed how snow could hit parts of the south east whilst it was a different story in the north of the country.

But across France on Thursday temperatures took a dip as the first real cold snap of the season arrived, with temperatures more like those seen in January than November.

In Burgundy and parts of the east of the country like Alsace the mercury will fall to around 0C to 3C on Thursday morning, while much of the rest of the country will see temperatures between 2C and 6C.

It will be slightly less chilly near the Mediterranean, with the mercury forecast to hit 10C.

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Italy braces for first heatwave of the year with highs of over 30C

Temperatures are set to rise dramatically across Italy this weekend as the country prepares for its first real heatwave of the year, meteorologists said on Friday.

Italy braces for first heatwave of the year with highs of over 30C

People across Italy are preparing to head to the beach this weekend with unseasonably hot weather predicted to last for several days.

The heatwave is caused by an anticyclone named  ‘Hannibal’ sweeping in from Tunisia and Algeria, bringing hot air currents across the Mediterranean and as far north as Denmark and Poland, reports news agency Ansa.

Temperatures are forecast to rise above 32-33°C in parts of the Italian north including Veneto, Trentino Alto Adige, and Emilia Romagna, before the heatwave expands towards the centre and south of the country over the course of the weekend.

The weather is already 8°C above the seasonal average for this time of year, according to Antonio Sanò, founder of the Italian weather site, and temperatures could rise by as much as 10°C.

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In a typical year these kinds of highs wouldn’t be seen until July, Sanò said.

The incoming heatwave will be particularly humid as the anticyclone is carrying moisture from the Mediterranean sea, according to IlMeteo.

However, the relative cool of the Mediterranean basin at this time of year will contain the heat and keep the temperatures from rising into the high 30s, as would happen if the same type of weather event occurred in August.

READ ALSO: Nine in 10 Italians ‘want more action on climate crisis’, new study finds

The heatwave will stretch over the weekend and continue into next week, peaking on Tuesday, according to weather reports.

Patchy thunderstorms typical of midsummer weather are anticipated in the Alps and the Po Valley, while the centre-south is set to experience hot and sunny conditions bar some isolated storms in the mountains of Abruzzo on Sunday.