Storms, rain and strong winds forecast for week France’s café terraces reopen

The terraces of France's bars, restaurants and cafés are set to reopen from May 19th  - but while many people will be looking forward to sitting down for a drink with friends and family for the first time since October, the weather has other ideas.

Storms, rain and strong winds forecast for week France's café terraces reopen
Photo: Mychela Daniau/AFP

National forecaster Météo-France predicts a week of unsettled and chilly weather, punctuated by storms and heavy rain for much of the country, and temperatures below seasonal norms. Barely a day will pass without rain, they said.

Mediterranean areas may be spared the worst of the rain – and could enjoy some decent sunny spells – but strong Mistral and Tramontane winds from the north and northwest are expected.

In the south, temperatures are expected to reach around 20C in Nice and around 17C further west along the Mediterranean coast in Marseille and Perpignan. Elsewhere, forecasters predict 15C in Paris and Biarritz, 12C in Limoges, 13C in Brest and 11C in Aurillac. 

May is typically an unsettled month in France. Generally, only October, November and December are wetter – and this month has, so far, been the wettest for 60 years, Météo-France experts have said.

Meteorologists say we should not be surprised.

Fluctuating conditions are normal for this time of year, La Chaîne Météo’s Régis Crépet, told Le Parisien. In 2015, a May heatwave sent the mercury soaring above 30C. In 2016 and 2017, violent thunderstorms and frosts were the headline weather events.

The reason this month in 2021 has been so wet and cold? Météo-France said that the Azores high – a large subtropical and semi-permanent centre of high atmospheric pressure just south of the islands in the Atlantic – was not yet strong enough this year to force many ocean weather systems away from France.

Establishments serving food and drink will be allowed to open outside from May 19th, with a maximum of six people per table, and up to 50 percent normal capacity. Indoor areas are set to reopen from June 9th, depending on the health situation.

IN DETAIL France’s calendar for reopening after lockdown

Best advice: take a coat…

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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.