Return of the snow on the hills of France at the beginning of November 04/11/2022

White gold returns to the mid-mountain range:

After an exceptionally hot month of October, the weather in France changed dramatically in early November. A depression is really rushing over France this weekend and bringing a flow from the northwest much coolercausing a drop in temperatures both on the ground and at altitude.

Weather situation for Friday 4 November 2022 – GFS model via WX CHARTS

So, on Thursday, temperatures dropped well across France behind the cold front that swept the country from west to east. a limit of rain and snow also falls. First located at around 2000m altitude during the day, it dropped to 1300-1400m early in the night from Thursday to Friday in the Alps, allowing snowflakes to whiten many areas. For example, we managed to find 3 cm of snow overnight in Chamrousse (38), 1800m above sea level.

White alarm clock on the morning of November 4, 2022 in Chamrousse (38) –


Snow has fallen since last night on most of the massif with a snow-rain limit dropped from 1500-1600m to 1300-1400m this Friday. Quantities are more or less important depending on the sector, sometimes exceeding 5 cm above 1300 m on the north of the Alps, sometimes more than 10-15 cm in the border massifs.

Nivose from the Col de Porte to Chartreuse this Friday 4 November 2022 – Weather France

Landscapes have therefore found very winter look on many sectors and this from medium altitude.

Return of winter near Saint-Véran in the Hautes-Alpes this Friday at the beginning of the day – Photography: Festi’Saint-Véran

These winter landscapes are all the more marked the higher up with the quantities that prove to be greater ea snow sticks to the ground much more easily since last night.

The Sambuy summit in Haute-Savoie on 4 November 2022 – Via Scalping

The snowfalls will continue until the next night on this 1200-1300 m altitude massif, giving a few more inches before the precipitation stops.


Snow has also made a notable comeback since last night in the central mountains of this massif, first falling on average from 1600-1700m and then gradually dropping down to 1300-1400m on Friday. It is between the West and the Center of the massif that the most significant quantities have been observed with sometimes more than 5-10 cm above 1800 m of altitude.

The slopes of Saint-Lary-Soulan (65) were covered with fresh snow this Friday at noon – Photography via Twitter @AnneMarty_Alti

Here too, it is at high altitude that the most significant quantities are observed, with accumulations more than 10 cm from the day before to the start of the day.

Nivose from Aiguilètes station in Haute-Bigorre this Friday 4 November 2022 – Weather France

The next night the snowfall will continue against the backdrop of this chain with total accumulations which can exceed 20 cm above 1800-2000 m, which is the first noteworthy episode of the cold season at these altitudes.

The Massif Central:

If the quantities are much lower than the two massifs mentioned above, snow also appeared on the peaks of the Massif Central at the beginning of the day. sometimes giving a temporary layer of soil above 1300 m of altitude.

Dusting at the Baraque des Bouviers (48), 1400 m altitude this 4th November 2022 in the morning – Via

However, these snowfalls remain anecdotal and rainfall is not enough to hope for a lasting hold in these areas. Note, however, that the emblematic Mont Aigoual station also observed the first snowfall of the season at the beginning of the day of November 4th.

First snowfall of the season in Mont Aigoual (1567m) on 4 November 2022 – Via Twitter @ Aigoual1567

Jura and Vosges:

The peaks of the Jura also reverted to white gold with snowflakes sometimes falling from an altitude of 1000-1100m on the 4th of November.

Snowfalls whitening the ground at Plans d’Hotonnes (1100m altitude) in the south of the Jura on 4 November 2022 – Bugey South Grand Colombier Tourist Office

However, several centimeters are observed on the peaks of the region, once again the first real snowfall of the cold season.

The summit of the Dôle massif (1678 m) under the snow on November 4, 2022 – Through

On the Vosges side the observation is more timid with only a few flakes on the peaks of the massif, not clinging to the ground or very temporarily.

These snowfalls are therefore for many mid-mountain sectors the first falls of the cold seasonwhich is the average. In fact, it is generally at the beginning of November that snowfalls become more frequent in the mid-mountain resorts of our French reliefs. Except for a real period of persistent mildness, it is not uncommon for the height of the snow fallen in this period to persist until the end of winter, especially in higher altitude locations.

Snow conditions at the Col de Porte (1340 m) from the winter of 2003-2004 – Source: IGN and Frédéric Serre

The observation is quite similar on most of the mid-altitude locations of the Massif Central with the first snow thicknesses generally observed in early November but still fluctuating until the end of the month before much more recurring rainfall for the month of December. .

Snow conditions in Mont-Dore (1200 m) from winter 2003-2004 – Source: IGN and Frédéric Serre

The depth of the snow becomes more and more important as it progresses towards winter and this on all our massifs, generally reaching its peak in late February before the start of the gradual melting period.

Snow in early November in the mid-mountain: many examples in the past

It is not enough to go back very far to observe significant snowfalls in the mid-mountain at the beginning of November. If at these altitudes flakes can sometimes be observed (or even a layer on the ground as early as September or October

In 2021 the first real winter offensive of the season was also observed at the beginning of November on most of our massifs with snowflakes falling on average from 1000 m between the Massif Central and the eastern reliefs between 2 and 3 November, notably more on the Pyrenees. This first marked winter assault had sometimes resulted over 15/20 cm of fresh snow between the north of the Alps and the peaks of the Jura and the Vosges.

Bonneval-sur-Arc (Savoy – 1850m) in the middle of a snow storm Wednesday 3 November 2021 – Viewsurf webcam

In 2019, snow was also observed on most of our massifs in early November, this time in much larger quantities. Under a disturbed and fresh ocean flow, the precipitations had followed one another on the country and had brought more than a meter of snow in a few days above 2000 m of altitude on the north of the Alps as well as on the west of the Pyrenees massif.

Luz Ardiden Station (65) on 9 November 2019 – View surf

In 2017, despite a particularly mild end of October similar to the one we experienced this year, the snow made a notable return to the mountains from November 5 with flakes falling from an altitude of 1000 m on most of the massifs.

Snow at Isola2000 (Alpes-Maritimes) on Sunday 5th November 2017 – City-Weather

There are therefore numerous examples of snowfall in mid-mountain at the very beginning of November as indicated by the general climatology and this from the beginning of the meteorological records.. If these snowfalls become more frequent at these altitudes at this time of year, however, these can occur much earlier in the fall.

This has been the case, for example, from the end of September 2020 with relatively recurring snowfalls in the mid-mountain until winter.

More than 20 cm of snow in the locality of Chamrousse on 26/09/2020 – Weather-City

Snow at the Col de la Faucille at 1300 m in the Upper Jura on the morning of Monday 26 October 2020 – Ain Turismo webcam

Other years are more timid with falls appearing later.

In 2015, for example, mild and dry weather dominated the debates about France and conditions weren’t very favorable for snow on our hills in early November. The snow had set in the mountains only at the end of the month of that year.

Hot on the beaches of the Basque Country on November 7, 2015 – City of time

>> Find the archives of time in France in our Chronicle from 1850 and in our Almanac of unique databases on the Internet.

If 2022 is therefore dominated by the heat on France, the snow is making its return in due course on our massifs although it will remain very temporary given the longer-term forecasts with the return of calm and sweet weather from next week on ours. country.

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