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A cold, winter wind blowing north to south from the Central Plateau of France, down the Rhône valley, to the northwest Mediterranean. It is caused by cold air from Europe blowing southward into a low pressure area over the Mediterranean. When the mistral blows, temperatures sometimes fall as low as freezing point and strong gusts of 60 km/h (37 mph), or higher, make conditions unpleasant. It is a hazard to air and surface transport, crops, and buildings. Most farmhouses have rows of trees one their north side as protection from the wind, and many fields of fruits and vegetables shelter behind rows of cypress trees.

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