Areas in the south of France experienced temperatures of 25C or higher at the weekend - but for many frosty temperatures and snow are set to return by the end of this week.
Weather stations in the Pyrénées-Orientales recorded temperatures as high as 27.5C on Sunday (February 4), 25C on Saturday, and are expected to see highs above 20C again today.
Weather patterns across the rest of France will begin to change throughout the week, replacing the generally calm weather of the recent week with rain and wind.
Snowfall, including at lower altitudes, is expected next weekend, particularly in central and eastern parts of France but may also fall in the north and around Paris / Normandy.
Temperatures reach June highs in south
The 27.5C recorded in the Pyrénées on Sunday was not an anomaly, but part of a set of extremely warm temperatures that affected the area at the weekend.
Averages in a number of weather stations were 25C or higher, and in Perpignan, 24.5C was reached.
In comparison, average temperatures across the department at the beginning of June are 25C, meaning for consecutive days weather was the same as those usually experienced then.
️ Les #PyrénéesOrientales sont en surchauffe : ce dimanche à 13 h, on relève 23 à 25°C sur l'est de ce département, un niveau de début juin. Cet après-midi, on attend près de 27°C localement. Céret connait son 2ème jour de #chaleur consécutif, un record pour début février. pic.twitter.com/uwkqouXLRT— La Chaîne Météo (@lachainemeteo) February 4, 2024
Des records mensuels de douceur et parfois même de chaleur commencent à tomber en Occitanie.— Extrême Météo (@ExtremeMeteo) February 4, 2024
On relève jusqu'à 27,5°C à Céret (66) et 26,9°C à Vinça (66).
Effet de foehn bien identifié dans ce régime de tramontane avec compression adiabatique sur la plaine des Pyrénées... pic.twitter.com/sb59BrKx4q
In comparison, average temperatures in Perpignan in February are around 13C. The highest temperature recorded in the city for February is 26.5C, recorded in 1933.
Calm beginning to weekend before abrupt change
The beginning of the week will see the current calm weather continue with mild temperatures and little rainfall.
On Wednesday (February 7), however, the anticyclonic winds causing this will begin to end and be replaced by turbulent weather from the English Channel and Atlantic Ocean.
Winds of up to 90 km/h in Normandy are expected, and rainfall across the north and north-west is predicted. However, temperatures in the south are expected to remain warm.
Thursday (February 8) will see winds and rain pick up in the north, but temperatures south of Bordeaux and Toulouse remain around 20C.
In the south-east, a return of the Cévennes rains (épisode cévenol) on Thursday could see more than 80mm of rain fall over the course of the weekend.
By Friday (February 9), winds and rain will cover most of France, with the south-east in particular facing gales of up to 100 km/h as temperatures start to drop.
Snow at the weekend?
Snow is set to begin falling from Thursday at heights of 2,000 metres above sea level before the winds and temperature drop make it more likely elsewhere.
Saturday evening will see the chances of snow spike across multiple areas and is heavily expected in the east and parts of the Massif Central mountain range.
Morning temperatures will drop to between 0C and 3C in most of the north on Sunday, with frosts very likely even if snow does not fall.
Temperatures in the day will stay in single figures with the exception of the south.