France to enter cold snap as Spring arrives

Temperatures in the northern half of France are to fall sharply from today (Sunday March 29), even as clocks go forward to mark the arrival of Spring.

29 March 2020
The weather is offering even more reason to stay indoors this weekend as temperatures drop (and the clocks go forwards)
By Hannah Thompson

Cold air from Greenland is to produce a “winter offensive” for the northern half of the country, said forecaster Météo France.

Temperatures will not rise above 10°C.

Snow is expected from 300 metres altitude up, including in the Ardennes and the Jura, while rain is also expected in the Alps, Pyrénées and the Massif Central.

The cold is expected to spread south overnight on Sunday and into Monday (March 30).

There may also be rain in the south west of the country, and Corsica.

Even the south east coast is likely to see a drop in temperatures, with the forecast showing highs of just 10-11°C on Sunday and tomorrow - a significant drop of 8-10°C in just 24 hours in some places.

Météo France said: “More significant snowfall is expected at a very low altitude from the Limousin to the Auvergne from 500m, on Sunday; and then towards Occitanie on Monday, where snow may fall from [as low as] 300m.”

As news source 20 Minutes joked: "If you have a good reason to go out despite the confinement...don't forget your scarf."


Spring forward

The cold snap comes as the clocks go forward. Clocks changed at 2h last night (Sunday March 29), making it 3h, and moving the hour to summer time.

This means that we “lost” one hour in the night, and the sun will now set later.

This year could be the penultimate year in France that clocks change with the seasons. The current system was introduced in 1976, but on March 26, 2019, the EU voted to end the system.

This is set to come into force in 2021, by which time the EU member states will each have decided which hour they would prefer to keep year-round.

In 2019, an online consultation launched in France by the Assemblée Nationale received two million replies, with a conclusive outcome: Almost 84% of people said they would support an end to the clocks change system.

Of this, 59.17% said they would prefer to stay on summer time all year round.

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