Chill in France. Temperatures will be freezing this week, announced Meteo France, with temperatures four to eight degrees below the seasonal average. Forecasters also warn that the mountains of the Southwest are at very high risk of avalanches.
Least nine in the Massif Central and Strasbourg least six to Toulouse least four in Marseille: a cold snap is expected this week on almost all of France, leading the government to set up “a daily national steering” .
No record in anticipation of cold
Temperatures will be below average “four to eight degrees” seasonal norms, according to Météo France , which does not however expect any temperature records.
— Météo-France (@meteofrance) January 13, 2017
“We are not in exceptional temperatures,” said Patrick Galois, a forecaster at Meteo France. “We can talk about cold spell of moderate intensity, good chill” .
Nothing to do with the “historical cold waves like those of February 1956 or in January 1985” , he explains. In 1985, for example, the temperature plunged to “minus 19 in Toulouse, the Garonne was taken by the ice”.
The expected cold snap, which occurs after a heavy winter storm, should not have the same intensity as the latest wave of cold notable in 2012, according to Météo France.
Widespread cold and sustainable
However this is the first time since then that the country will experience a “cold as widespread and perhaps sustainable” , says Emmanuel Demaël also forecaster at Meteo France.
Sunday, temperatures were already lower by two to four degrees above seasonal norms, except in Britain. By mid afternoon, twelve departments were on orange alert: eight for snow and ice in the Ile-de-France and four avalanches in the Southwest. Road access to the Principality of Andorra was closed. The orange alert was lifted in Corsica but 3,600 homes were without electricity there because of the snow.
The orange alert for the risk of snow and ice was also lifted at midnight Monday on the Ile de France, the alert for more than four departments Southwest exposed to high avalanche risk, according to Météo France .
Very high risk of avalanche
“The avalanche risk is very high (level 5/5)” in all ranges of the Pyrenees-Atlantiques, Hautes-Pyrénées, Haute-Garonne and in the massive Ariege Couserans, warns Météo France. An avalanche has already occurred early Saturday afternoon in the sector Laruns in the Pyrenees-Atlantiques, causing the death of a hiker.
Temperatures will drop from Monday, and especially Tuesday. They will sometimes strongly negative night and possibly will stay the whole day.
“It will be cold everywhere but the cold will be more significant in the east and center than toward the Atlantic” , says Galois.
The thermometer should plummet to minus 9 or 10 in Strasbourg, Mulhouse at least minus 11, minus 10 in Dijon, Toulouse minus 6 and minus 4 in Marseille.
“Temperatures will be felt lower on Wednesday and Thursday because there will be more wind” , says Demaël. Thus, in the Northeast, a temperature of minus 10 combined with a wind of 50 km/h, “give rise to a feeling of approximately 20” .
A national monitoring plan implemented
According to Meteo France, the cold and dry cold should last all week and even continue beyond.
Blame it on a high pressure brings down cold air from the northeast of Europe to France. “As will earn easterly winds, ocean disturbances that typically bring us the sweetness will remain on the ocean and do not go back on the continent” , says Galois.
Faced with this offensive from the cold, the government has set up Saturday a “daily national monitoring” to better anticipate the needs.
Prime Minister Bernard Cazeneuve called on local authorities and associations to make available gyms, community centers, day of welcomes, for the homeless.
Civil security, police, gendarmes and firefighters are also on deck. A “daily needs assessment” to be established by the prefects.
The Health Minister Marisol Touraine on Friday called for “increased vigilance” , in particular to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning, falls due to snow, the health consequences related to cold.
Messages were broadcast this weekend on the radio.
No power cuts planned
Although the cold may cause an increase in electricity consumption , “there are no planned cuts” , said the manager of the electricity transmission network, RTE.
However, it could be forced to start on Tuesday exceptional measures. The first would be “an alert” broadcast the “day ahead” , encouraging consumers to reduce consumption during peak hours.
This cold snap comes as France is in the midst of a seasonal flu epidemic.