France in the grip of the Great Winter

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AGI – Wool Polar winter envelops Francewith a rapid drop in temperature, and minus 10 degrees in the north and eastt while weather alerts have been launched in 40 regions, some of which have already activated the “Big Cold” plan.

In the early hours of the day, frost episodes were reported across much of the country, with fewer on record 9 degrees in Langres, – 7 in Strasbourg, – 5 in Paris, where thick snowflakes fell in the morning. As of yesterday, a yellow alert for snow and ice is in effect in 60 departments and there is a risk of avalanches in another 11 mountain areas; after all, it is already snowing in the Pyrenees, where traffic is complicated above 500 meters above sea level.

The coldest day is expected tomorrow when, according to forecasts, the national heat index – i.e. the average of 30 measurements in different regions – will fall below the fatal zero mark. Only the lands facing the Mediterranean Sea (South) and the Atlantic (West) will be “saved” from the grip of extreme cold and frost.

After a “particularly mild period of the season”, the cold will “be felt for a significant part of next week”, Mètéo-France announced. The country has just recovered from the heavy floods that devastated the Nord and Pas de Calais (north) regions in recent days, affected by extensive material damage, which are still under orange alert.

The prefecture of Paris and Ile de France is introduced the ‘Grand Froid’ plan, making available different hundreds of beds for the most vulnerable people. Preventive and monitoring facilities are set up in other regions such as Hauts de Seine, Bas Rhin, Loire Atlantique.

This is a system launched by the prefects, which provides for the opening of additional positions emergency accommodation for the homeless. It is triggered when the minimum temperatures experienced drop to a very low level and consists of opening emergency reception points in public buildings that are not used for this purpose during normal periods, such as gymnasiums or schools.

According to experts from Mètéo-France, “with climate change, cold waves are still possible even as the climate warms”, but in the last 35 years they have become “rare, less long and less intense”. An episode of the next few days would not meet the criteria of a “cold wave” in the strict sense of the word. In France, the four longest and strongest cold waves were observed in February 1956, January 1963, January 1985 and January 1987.

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