Understanding French VHF weather broadcasts

A glossary of French VHF Meteo broadcast terminology

Anticyclone, Zone de haute pression – Anticyclone, area of High Pressure
Averse – Shower
Banc de Brume – Fog Bank
Brouillard – Fog
Bruine – Drizzle
Brume – Mist
Ciel – Sky
Crachin – Drizzle
Couvert – Overcast
Se Couvrant – Clouding up
Se Calment – Declining
Dépression, Zone de bas pression – Depression, Area of low pressure
Devenant – Becoming
Dorsale – Ridge
Eclaircie – Breaks in cloud
Effet de Brise – Land/Sea breeze
Ensoleillé – Sunny
Etoilé – Starry
Evolution – Outlook
Hectopascal – Equates to a millibar
Houle – Swell
Mollisant – Moderating
Nord/North, Est/East, Sud/South, Ouest/West (Sometimes pronounced ‘Wah’)
Nuageux – Cloudy
Ondées – Prolonged or heavy showers
Orage/eux – Thunder storm, Thundery
S’Orientant – Becoming (Direction)
Pluit – Rain
Petit Pluit – Light rain
Prévision – Forecast
Rafale -Gust
Vente Solaire – Land/Sea breeze
Virant – Turning towards

Agité – Rough
Peu Agité – Slight
Avis de – Warning of…
Menace de – Risk of…
Avis de Tempête Néante – No Gale Warnings
Grand Frais – Force 7
Coup de Vent – Force 8
Tempête – Force 10

Areas sometimes referred to in forecasts
Cotentin – Cherbourg Peninsula
Côte de Cornouailles – West of Lorient (Pronounced Cornwhy)
Pointe de Bretagne – The Raz (Pronounced Rah) de Seine
Iroise – Brest area
Ouessant – Ushant
Ile de Batz – Batz (Pronounced Bah)

Areas, Channels and Times

  • Details of times can be obtained from annual pilots, such as Reeds, and Le Guide Marine. A card is also obtainable from most French marina or harbour offices or download from: www.meteo.fr/meteonet/decouvr/guides/marine/mar1.htm and on the first page click on “Près des Côtes”
  • On the Atlantic Coast of France forecasts are broadcast by four Cross (Coastguard) stations. Each one broadcasts the forecast at approximately 15-minute intervals from a number of remote Emetteurs (transmitters).
  • If you have poor reception from the nearest Emetteur it is well worth trying the adjacents ones before or after. This particularly applies when up rivers .

Ch 79 Gris-Nez – Belgian border to Baie de la Somme and Baie de la Somme to Cap de la Hague
Ch 80 Joburg – Baie de la Somme to Cap de la Hague and Cap de la Hague to Pointe de Penmarc’h (pronounced Pamar)
Ch 79 Corsen – Cap de la Hague to Penmarc’h
Ch 80 Etel – Pointe de Penmarc’h to l’Anse de l’Aiguillon and
Ch 79 -l’Anse de l’Aiguillon to Spanish border

Form of Forecast (eg. for Cross Corsen)
Announced first on Ch 16, when they say from which Emmeteur and which Channel

Ici le Cross Corsen qui diffuse la bulletin météorologique pour la navigation et pêche côtier entre La Hague et Penmarc’h. Prévision élaboret par Météo France Brest le… (date and time)

Situation generale le…(date/time) et évolution (General synopsis – Pressure given in Hector Pascales which equate to Millibars)

Prévisions pour le Jour/nuit/ulterieur… (Day/Night/Outlook & they again give date/time)

  • Avis de Tempête néante (No storm warnings)
  • Avis de Grand Frais (Force 7)
  • Avis de Coup de Vent (Force 8)

Vent de… (wind direction) Force… (Beaufort)

Oule… (Swell – direction and height in metres)

Ciel… (Weather – not given with Ultérieur)

Visibilité… (Visibility in miles – not given with Ultérieur)

Temps observée… (weather reports from coast stations)