From: Reuters
Published February 19, 2008 10:11 AM

France says rainfall levels lower than normal

PARIS (Reuters) - France has witnessed less rain than normal and levels of precipitation capable of replenishing water reserves had come in around 25 percent lower between September and February 12, the environment ministry said on Tuesday.

In the region south of Paris -- a large grain producing area -- as well as the western part of the Pyrenees and Provence in southeastern France, levels of rainfall able to fill water reserves were 50 percent lower than average, it said.

Rainfall in January neared average levels in most of the country, the ministry said, but this did not prove sufficient to make up for dry conditions seen in the autumn of 2007.

"Soil conditions are less humid than (seen) in a normal year almost everywhere," the ministry said in its latest monthly report.

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Average rainfall levels are calculated using data from the year 1971 to 2000.

(Reporting by Sybille de La Hamaide; editing by Michael Roddy)

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