Below usual cold spell expected to return this weekend

Last weekend, -26.2C was recorded overnight in the Jura. Next few days will be warmer but temperatures predicted to fall again soon

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Temperatures across France have been well below normal for this time of year in much of France and, although they will be higher for the next few days, a very cold spell is expected to return at the weekend.

Last weekend, the mercury dipped to -26.2C overnight at Valfin-lès-Saint-Claude, in the Jura, while it was still at -20C at daybreak near Mouthe, Doubs on Monday morning … a temperature that can do interesting things to hot water.

However, it is still warmer than the coldest night on record in Mouthe, -41C, recorded in 1985.

Forecasters say that climate change has meant that seasonal norms are less common than in recent years.

Last weekend electricity grid operator RTE urged people in France to keep an eye on their electricity use in a bid to ensure continuous service.

Snow is expected in the parts of north and east of the country on Wednesday January 13 with an increase in avalanche risk in the northern Alps. Temperatures in these areas will hover around zero.

In the south and southwest, clearing skies may mean welcome sunny spells, and temperatures rising to 14C in the Gard and Bouches-du-Rhône, and 9C in the west and northwest.

Strong winds, with gusts of up to 80kph, is forecast in the south, notably in the Aude and Bouches-du-Rhône.

The cold weather is expected to return at the weekend with temperatures predicted again to drop below seasonal norms again - though it will be drier than in the previous week.