Forecaster Météo France has issued an orange alert for snow and ice for two departments in southeast France: Bouches-du-Rhône, and Var.
'Orange' is the second-most severe alert level. The alert is set to come into force from 18:00 this evening (Sunday, February 26).
In a statement, Météo France said: “In the east of Bouches-du-Rhône and to the west of Var, a snow episode is expected from the end of the afternoon into the night.”
It warned of “difficult driving conditions”, especially as many people in Zone B may be returning from school holidays today.
Earlier in the afternoon, the two departments are also set to experience cold rain, which will later turn into snow as temperatures drop.
The forecaster said: “The rain will turn into snow at lower and lower altitudes, especially in the east of Var and the west of Bouches-du-Rhône. Snowfall of around 2-5 cm is expected, and there may be as much as 5-10 cm in some areas.”
2 départements en Orange pic.twitter.com/rODyu30JLd— VigiMétéoFrance (@VigiMeteoFrance) February 26, 2023
It comes after temperatures are also forecast to drop dramatically across most of central and western France this weekend, and snow is expected to arrive in Toulouse and Montpellier early next week.
Read more: Colder weather on way, snow expected in south of France next week
Temperatures are forecast to sit well below seasonal averages for the first part of the week.
Over the weekend and into Monday, some areas were even forecast to see temperatures drop by 10 degrees. For example, Belfort (Bourgogne-Franche-Comté) is predicted to see a drop from 12 to 1C, and Vichy (Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes) has experienced a sharp fall from 12C to 2C.
Drought restrictions still in place
However, the snow is still not expected to be enough to ease the state of drought conditions seen across most of the country.
Water restrictions are set to be introduced due to the chronic lack of precipitation in 2023 so far. Early in the year, climate experts said that 2023 was set to be ‘very dry’, while some said that March would be a ‘make or break’ month.
Earlier this week, Ecology Minister Christophe Béchu said in an interview that “France is in a state of alert” over the drought.
Colder weather on way, snow expected in south of France next week
Drought in France: 2023 set to be ‘very dry year’ and it starts now