Another arctic blast on the way

A solitary SUV car driving along a wet rural road as snow falls

Forecasters warn milder weather after weekend's winter welcome will be shortlived

Another arctic blast is expected to hit much of France towards the end of the week, forecasters have warned, days after large areas of the country were blanketed by snow.

Météo-France said that the milder weather that followed the weekend's wintry conditions will be shortlived, with snow expected across most departments from Friday. "We expect a cooling of temperatures from Friday to Sunday, which could lead to snow fall in the mountains - and also in the lowlands," forecaster Patrick Galois said.

The Meteo-France forecast for Friday evening

The north west of France is expected to escape the worst of the conditions, Météo-France predicts, but all parts of the country are warned to expect fog and icy conditions on the roads - and urged motorists to take extra care when out and about.

Last weekend, four people were injured in a 13-car pile-up in heavy for in Bordeaux, while police in the Oise were called to a dozen separate weather-related accidents, in which five people were injured.

Nearly 7,000 households lost power in Corsica as heavy snow led to what EDF later described as 'defects in electrical installations'.

Temperatures on average at the weekend were between 4C and 5C below normal. In Perpignan on Saturday, the mercury struggled to just 4C, a massive 10C lower than the average for this time of year

Overnight temperatures in many areas dipped well into negative numbers on Saturday into Sunday, Météo-France said. In Mouthe, Doubs, thermometers dipped to -19C, while temperatures as low as-13C in Luchon, Haute-Garonne, and -12C in Aurillac (Cantal). Niort, in Deux-Sèvres, meanwhile, saw temperatures dip to -7C, the lowest since records began.

Meanwhile, the first lowland snows of the winter caused problems in parts of southern France. A total 30cm fell in the commune of La Roquebrussannne, at the foot of the Sainte Baume massif in the Var, and 15cm in Gréasque, Bouches du Rhône. And while heavy snow led to blackouts in Corsica, rain was also a problem - Bastia recorded 218mm of rain over the weekend, including 192mm on December 2, a new record for a single day in December and more rain than has fallen in the previous nine months.

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