Gardeners warned of morning frosts as French cold snap continues

Temperatures will be significantly below average until the weekend, with snow and April showers

If your flowers have bloomed, you should think about protecting your plants
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France’s current cold spell is set to continue this week, as temperatures remain significantly below April averages and frosts threaten newly-bloomed plants and produce. 

Temperatures are expected to be around four or five degrees lower than usual across almost the entire country, as bitter winds from the British Isles hit not only France but much of Europe from Portugal to the Balkans. 

Morning temperatures of between zero and five degrees are forecast by La Chaîne Météo (owned by Le Figaro) across most of France, although the chilliest areas will be the centre and east.

The coldest temperature recorded this morning was -3.2C, in Montluçon (Allier).

These cold starts continue the risk of morning frosts to gardens across the country, particularly on Monday (April 22) and Tuesday (April 23).

In the latter part of the week the threat will reduce with skies being overcast.

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Numerous ‘April showers’ (giboulées) are forecast, as well as storms in the south-east at the beginning of the week. 

Snow is expected in the Vosges at 700m above sea level – and the Pyrénées at 1,300m – on Wednesday. 

It will not be until Friday (April 26) that temperatures start to climb once more towards April/May norms, and by the weekend they will be back to usual, with highs of between 20C and 25C. 

However, rainfall is also predicted, particularly in the centre and west/south-west across the weekend.

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Is this the coldest April? 

Temperatures may seem significantly lower than you would expect for April, and this is partially true. 

April is one of the most unstable months in terms of temperature, and has been the only month over the previous two years where monthly overall temperatures have not been higher than average. 

This was the case in both April 2022 and April 2023.

Whilst Météo France says this is a “relatively intense” year of April chills, it is not “exceptional” in how severe it is. 

The weather “did not reach the levels of the coldest days recorded during the second half of April, which date back to 1991 or 1976,” it said.

In these two years, there were heavy frosts and even snow in France’s low-lying areas and plains, up until the end of the month. 

However, the length of the cold snap – beginning on April 16 and not set to end until this weekend – and its arrival after record-breaking heats is extremely uncommon, the state weather observer added.