FOLLOWING a mild Christmas that marked the warmest year on record in France, winter is set to arrive with a vengeance this weekend - and, after a weekend of heavy snow, temperatures are set to plunge deep into the red next week.
The Weather Channel has reported that the Northern Alps are set to be hit by a severe blizzard, accompanied by strong winds, on Saturday. The forecaster has predicted that up to a metre of snow will fall in parts of the region in 24 hours, with an average dump of between 30cm and 60cm.
Less snow is predicted in the Southern Alps, though even here to the delight of skiers up to 30cm of snow is expected, forecasters have said. They also predicted that up to 50cm of snow in the Pyrenees, 60cm in the Massif Central, and 80cm in the Vosges and Jura mountains.
Snow is forecast even at lower levels in northern and eastern France. “Low to moderate levels” of snow are expected in Nord-Pas-de-Calais and the Rhône-Alpes, through Picardy, Champagne-Ardenne, Alsace-Lorraine, Franche-Comté and Burgundy.
Even in Ile-de-France, snow flurries are expected late Saturday night and into Sunday. While they may not be enough to cover Paris in a layer of snow, a light dusting is expected in Seine-et-Marne.
Behind the snow, a cold weather system from Russia is set to bring freezing temperatures to most of the country. Temperatures in Nancy are set to rise no higher than -9C on Sunday, while Parisians will shiver as the mercury rises no higher than -5C as the capital experiences its first frosts in more than a year. In Marseille, on the Mediterranean coast, temperatures will only reach -1C.
Across the week, temperatures are set to dip to between -3C and -6C nationwide, while the wind chill in the northeast of the country means that early morning temperatures there will plunge as low as -20C.