Season forecast: milder in January but cold in February

The digital model developed by METEO CONSULT * had well predicted the high pressure located in high latitudes (Scandinavia), while low pressure would be recurrent over the Mediterranean basin. This is what happens in this month of December, which may finally be the coldest in France since 2010. However, as of January, our model still predicts the return of a more disturbed current in France, which would finally bring widespread precipitation throughout the territory with temperatures above average for the season.

At the level of the January-February-March quarter, the temperature outlook in France would be close to the seasonal averages based on the last 30 years (difference of 0 to +0.5°C), with monthly differences. Precipitation is seen as excess in January, but again below the northern half in February and March. In terms of temperatures, they are expected to increase in January, possibly at +1°C above average, while February and March would be cold again (close to average or even possibly lower).

Weather scenarios for winter in France © The Weather Channel

Remember that a seasonal winter is characterized by minimum temperatures of 0 to 5°C on average and maximum of 4 to 14°C depending on the region. The average monthly rainfall in winter is 50 to 100 mm with large regional differences, and the month of February is statistically one of the driest months of the year in France.

With an expected temperature anomaly between 0 and +0.5°C, which is quite close to normal throughout the winter, France may then experience the coldest winter since 2017, the last of which has been characterized by very significant warm anomalies (+2°C in 2018-2019, +2.7°C for the winter of 2019 – 2020, +1.2°C in 2020-2021 and in 2021 – 2022).

In detail, here is our analysis for the next three months:

January: return of rainfall

This update confirms the return of the Atlantic low pressure systems which would approach Western Europe. In a west to southwest flow, the disturbances could finally sweep over France and large parts of Western Europe. This resumption of disturbed weather may produce precipitation amounts above seasonal averages of around +10 to +30%, with snow in the central mountains. Temperatures are seen around +0.5 to +1°C above average, which rules out the risk of a cold spell in this case, although the beginning of January can be temporarily quite cold.

February: cold despite limited reliability

The overall reliability is still quite limited for the month of February due to a strong dispersion of the numerical models. However, our model presents a scenario quite close to last month, which indicates a good stability in the forecast. It looks like a disturbed context will continue over the near Atlantic, while high pressure and dry weather will affect Eastern Europe and Russia. France can be cut in half with dry and anticyclonic weather over the northern half, while the disturbances would circulate to the south, towards the Mediterranean. On average, precipitation will be +10% above normal, and temperatures close to average or even slightly lower, especially over the northern half, between 0° and -0.5°C. Meanwhile, the cold would be present in Scandinavia and Russia.

March: possibly cold, damp in the south

The global weather configuration would not change much on the scale of Europe, with always this recurrence of high pressure located in the Nordic countries, while the disturbances would mainly circulate from the Iberian Peninsula to the Mediterranean, bringing accumulations of rain higher than average in the south of France. The northern half would be under the influence of high pressure with a deficit of rain. These conditions would be accompanied by lower than average temperatures throughout the European continent, which could complicate the energy resource at the end of winter.

If they are confirmed, these forecasts would be “good” news in more ways than one:

– A standard winter, i.e. fairly normal, would make it possible to limit the risk associated with the tense energy context in Europe, in contrast to a winter colder than normal, which would have a much greater impact on energy demand. In this connection, we note that January would be favorable, but that there is uncertainty for the months of February and March, which can be relatively cold. Nevertheless, even though it is standard, it would thus be cooler than the previous three, where the overtemperature had reached:

> +2°C (2018-19) > +2.7°C (2019-20) > +1.2°C (2020-21)

– The expected return of active disturbances, especially in January, would allow a replenishment of groundwater, which remains in deficit in our country and struggles to rise. In fact, rainfall has so far remained insufficient to stem the drought that has persisted since last spring. It is in autumn and winter, that the precipitation is actually effective. Our massifs – especially the southern ones – could then find a significant snow cover, which would contrast with last winter, which was very dry and where the deficit had reached -25% between 1 December 2021 and 28 February 2022.

To date, in any case, this is the scenario we are in favor of.

* These long-term forecasts are based on an analysis of the anomalies seen by the model developed by METEO CONSULT. There are many other seasonal forecasting models that can present completely different scenarios at times.

Development of winters in France © The Weather Channel

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