Hundreds trapped in cars on A9 and A750
Blizzards trapped hundreds of motorists in their cars overnight on the A9 or A750 near Montpellier.
The Hérault bore the brunt of heavy snow on Wednesday. Meteo France had placed the department on red alert - its highest weather warning, as up to 30cm of snow fell in a matter of hours. Nearly 1,700 stranded motorists were taken to emergency shelters, but hundreds more remained stuck in their vehicles. Drivers reported on Twitter that they had moved 1km in 13 hours. Drivers were reporting on Thursday afternoon that they were still stuck there after 24 hours.
The A9 was still closed on Thursday between Orange and Narbonne, while Montpellier airport suspended all early flights.
A total of 56 departments remained on orange weather alert for snow and ice, violent winds and flooding on Thursday. Météo-France also warned of freezing rain affecting the Rhône-Alpes region and Franche-Comté.
As well as the Hérault, the affected departments are: Ain, Alpes-de-Haute-Provence, Hautes-Alpes, Alpes-Maritimes, Ardèche, Aube, Aude, Bouches-du-Rhône, Calvados, Cher, Côte-d'Or, Côtes-d'Armor, Doubs, Eure, Eure-et-Loir, Finistère, Gard, Haute-Garonne, Ille-et-Vilaine, Indre, Indre-et-Loire, Jura, Loir-et-Cher, Loire-Atlantique, Loiret, Lozère, Maine-et-Loire, Manche, Haute-Marne, Mayenne, Morbihan, Nièvre, Orne, Pyrénées-Orientales, Haute-Saône, Saône-et-Loire, Sarthe, Savoie, Haute-Savoie, Paris, Hauts-de-Seine, Seine-Saint-Denis, Val-de-Marne, Seine-Maritime, Seine-et-Marne, Yvelines, Deux-Sèvres, Tarn, Var, Vendée, Vienne, Yonne, Territoire-de-Belfort, Essonne, and Val-d'Oise.
Paris airports reported minor delays to some flights out of Orly airport as ground crews worked to clear snow and ice from aircraft, but said that services were operating out of Charles de Gaulle.
Heavy goods vehicles - blamed for the continued closure of the A9 in the southwest - were this morning banned from travelling on the N118 in Yvelines.
Forecasters have, however, said temperatures were picking up. Météo-France said thermometers were expected to record highs of 17C in Tarbes and Biarritz. In the north, however, people will still have to wrap up, with the mercury expected to hover around zero in Lille, Strasbourg and Mulhouse.
But the warmer conditions are bringing their own problems, with snow turning to rain in the southwest. Up to 15cm of rain is expected in the already badly hit Aude and Hérault, while strong coastal winds along the Mediterranean coast could cause coastal flooding.
Source The Connexion, Midi Libre, La Dépêche
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