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WEATHER

Will anywhere in France get a white Christmas this year?

A white Christmas might be at the top of many people's festive wish list but will it actually come true for anyone in France this year?

Haut-Koenigsbourg castle in Orschwiller, eastern France.
Haut-Koenigsbourg castle in Orschwiller, eastern France. Non-mountainous parts of the country will not see snow this year. (Photo by PATRICK HERTZOG / AFP)

If you’re in France and have been dreaming of a white Christmas, you are probably out of luck. 

It has been freezing in recent days with temperatures falling to a low of -33.4C in Jura on Wednesday morning, but the cold spell isn’t going to last. 

Temperatures across the country will hover around the 10C level in most of France by the afternoon on December 25th according to Météo France, with parts of the country including Brittany and some parts of eastern France experiencing rainfall. 

By the afternoon on Christmas Day, the chances of snow look extremely limited. Source: www.meteofrance.com

On Saturday, there will be some snowfall, but only if you are high in the mountains at an altitude of 1,800-2,000m. On Sunday, places above 1,500m could also see snow – but this rules out the vast majority of the country. 

Roughly half the country will see sunshine over the weekend. The French weather channel said that this Christmas could be among the top five or six warmest since 1947. 

Last year, Météo France cautioned: “While we often associate snow with Christmas in the popular imagination, the probability of having snow in the plains [ie not in the mountains] during this period is weak in reality.”

One of the last great Christmas snowfalls, outside of France’s mountainous areas, came in 2010 when 3-10 cm of snow fell in Lille, Rouen and Paris. In Strasbourg, 26cm fell. 

On Christmas Day in 1996, 12 cm of snow fell in Angers – ironically, this was also the day that the film, Y’aura t’il de la neige à Noël? (Will there never be snow at Christmas?) was released. It had been ten years since France had seen such snowfall outside of the Alps and Pyrenees. 

Météo France directly attributes declining rates of Christmas snowfall to climate change. Compared to 50 years ago, even the Alps receives the equivalent one less month of snowfall per year. 

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WEATHER

Emergency aid for northern France after storms Eunice and Franklin

France is to unlock a special emergency relief fund to help victims of storms Eunice and Franklin, which battered northern areas of the country in recent days.

Emergency aid for northern France after storms Eunice and Franklin

Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin announced: “At the request of the President and in order to express national solidarity with the victims of storms Eunice and Franklin, we are committing funds from the fonds de secours d’extrême urgence to the areas affected, on a one-off basis.”

This fund is “intended for individuals and families placed in a situation of great difficulty”, the release specified, and “will allow people in need following the passage of storms to obtain basic necessities, in addition to the assistance provided by local authorities”.

The départements of Nord, Pas-de-Calais, Somme, Seine-Maritime and Manche were in the path of both devastating storms, which passed within 48 hours of each other.

Storm Eunice seriously injured at least six people, crippled transport and caused damage to numerous buildings, including schools, while a couple in their seventies were washed away by waves when Storm Franklin lashed the north of the country.

A state of catastrophe naturelle has already been declared, as is required in order to unlock the emergency relief fund, and further aid may be mobilised “depending on the nature of the damage observed and the phenomena that caused them”, Darminin added.

The formal designation of catastrophe naturelle also means that people affected can benefit from an accelerated process when making insurance claims.

READ ALSO What does it mean when France declares a catastrophe naturelle?

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