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WEATHER

Will anywhere in France get a white Christmas this year?

A white Christmas might be at the top of many people's festive wish list but will it actually come true for anyone in France this year?

Haut-Koenigsbourg castle in Orschwiller, eastern France.
Haut-Koenigsbourg castle in Orschwiller, eastern France. Non-mountainous parts of the country will not see snow this year. (Photo by PATRICK HERTZOG / AFP)

If you’re in France and have been dreaming of a white Christmas, you are probably out of luck. 

It has been freezing in recent days with temperatures falling to a low of -33.4C in Jura on Wednesday morning, but the cold spell isn’t going to last. 

Temperatures across the country will hover around the 10C level in most of France by the afternoon on December 25th according to Météo France, with parts of the country including Brittany and some parts of eastern France experiencing rainfall. 

By the afternoon on Christmas Day, the chances of snow look extremely limited. Source: www.meteofrance.com

On Saturday, there will be some snowfall, but only if you are high in the mountains at an altitude of 1,800-2,000m. On Sunday, places above 1,500m could also see snow – but this rules out the vast majority of the country. 

Roughly half the country will see sunshine over the weekend. The French weather channel said that this Christmas could be among the top five or six warmest since 1947. 

Last year, Météo France cautioned: “While we often associate snow with Christmas in the popular imagination, the probability of having snow in the plains [ie not in the mountains] during this period is weak in reality.”

One of the last great Christmas snowfalls, outside of France’s mountainous areas, came in 2010 when 3-10 cm of snow fell in Lille, Rouen and Paris. In Strasbourg, 26cm fell. 

On Christmas Day in 1996, 12 cm of snow fell in Angers – ironically, this was also the day that the film, Y’aura t’il de la neige à Noël? (Will there never be snow at Christmas?) was released. It had been ten years since France had seen such snowfall outside of the Alps and Pyrenees. 

Météo France directly attributes declining rates of Christmas snowfall to climate change. Compared to 50 years ago, even the Alps receives the equivalent one less month of snowfall per year. 

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WEATHER

UPDATE: Stormy weather alerts issued in France

France's meteorological service has issued orange alerts for storms in 21 départements urging the population to be vigilant.

UPDATE: Stormy weather alerts issued in France

Météo France has warned that much of the country will experience storms on Sunday. 

21 départements have been issued orange weather warnings. 

They include Landes, Gironde, Lot, Lot-et-Garonne, Dordogne, Charente, Charente-Maritime, Vienne, Haute-Vienne, Corrèze, Creuse, Cantal, Puy-de-Dôme, Rhône, Allier, Cher, Indre, Indre-et-Loire, Deux-Sèvres, Haute-Loire and Loire.

People living or visiting these areas are urged to “be very vigilant”. 

Forecasters predict hail and strong winds of up to 110km/h in some areas. Périgord, Limousin, Quercy and areas to the east of Poitou and Charentes are most likely to be battered by strong gusts. 

This weather is set to last until about 3AM on Monday. 

The storms will coincide with temperatures surpassing 30 degrees across much of the southern half of the country.

Last weekend, violent thunder storms left thousands of homes without electricity in northwestern France. 

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