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France

Forecast snow and ice hazards spur the government to action

©

Text by FRANCE 24 , News Wires

Latest update : 2010-12-17

As France prepares for the holiday season, the government took a range of precautions Friday against predicted snow and ice which is expected to affect a third of the country.

After unexpectedly heavy snowfall wreaked havoc on transportation last week, the French government took precautions Friday to ensure that snow forecast for the weekend doesn't cause chaos on the highways as the holiday season gets underway.

Sixteen armored police vehicles were positioned in the outer suburbs of Paris, where thousands of motorists were stranded earlier this month due to unexpectedly heavy snowfall. The vehicles will be used primarily to identify and assist vehicles stuck in heavy snow drifts.
 
At the interior ministry, the inter-departmental crisis centre was also activated. The delegates will meet twice a day, according to the ministry.
 
Prime Minister François Fillon ordered the mobilization of emergency services to avoid the pileups which occurred last week.
 
The French weather service Meteo France has placed 34 departments in the east of the country on “Orange Alert,” meaning heavy snow and sleet are expected to cause major disruptions. The alert will last until Friday at 13:00 local time. According to Meteo France, the weather will be a “unexceptional winter episode for the regions concerned, but significant enough to make driving conditions difficult." By late afternoon Thursday, snow had hit western Alsace.
 
The coming weekend will already be difficult for motorists having face busy roads and the beginning of the holiday season. Some trains will be slowed by snowfall affecting tracks in the east and Rhône-Alpes regions, the transport company SNCF said.
 
Meteo France is also forecasting “a new period of significant snow-fall” in certain areas in the north, causing disruptions at least until Sunday, 19 December.
 

 

Date created : 2010-12-17

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