France hit by big chill as snow and ice warnings extended across country

Much of the northern half of France from Brittany in the west to Alsace in the east was on alert for snow and winter conditions on Tuesday as an icy spell saw temperatures plummet.

France hit by big chill as snow and ice warnings extended across country
Snow is forecast across much of the northern half of France this week. Photo: AFP

Temperatures across the north of the country plunged over the weekend, but French weather forecaster Météo France said things will get even chillier in the coming days.

By Tuesday evening 36 départements were placed on orange alert (the second highest level) on Tuesday, as weather agency Météo France warned of exceptional volumes of snow, icy roads and intense cold that required vulnerable people to take precautions.

The départments on alert are: Finistère, Morbihan, Côtes-d'Armor, Ille-et-Vilaine, Mayenne, Sarthe, Loir-et-Cher, Loiret, Yonne, Côte-d'Or, Doubs, Territoire de Belfort, Haut-Rhin, Bas-Rhin, Vosges, Haute-Soâne, Aube, Seine-et-Marne, Orne, Calvados, Manche, Essonne, Yvelines, Paris, Val-d'Oise, Eure, Haut-Marne, Ain, Seine-Saint-Denis, Val-de-Marne, Hauts-de-Seine, Somme, Pas-de-Calais, Nord and Aisne.
On Tuesday heavy snow fell in parts of Brittany as the video below in Saint Brieuc on the north coast demonstrates.

The tweet below shows the snowy beaches in Dinard.


Earlier on Tuesday the interior ministry asked people in the areas of concern to avoid travel, and stay up to date with conditions and forecasts locally.


On Wednesday temperatures in Paris are set to fall to -5C, while the Hauts-de-France region will be -10C.

“This week promises to be very cold from the Belgian borders via the Paris Basin to Brittany,” said the forecaster.


There are also set to be significant snowfalls with up to 10cm of snow in Brittany and up to 15cm in Normandy on Tuesday, with snow also expected in the greater Paris Île-de-France region.

Météo France said it will remain very cold all week.

Meanwhile in the south of country, it will be warmer but more rain is forecast, set to worsen the flooding that parts of southern France saw last week.

Only one département in the south remains on orange alert for floods though – Charente Maritime.



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Trains delayed and roads slippery in Sweden despite lower snowfall

Sweden's state-owned rail company SJ cancelled several train services on Tuesday as a result of the snowy weather, while forecasters warned that roads could still be slippery in many regions.

Trains delayed and roads slippery in Sweden despite lower snowfall

SJ is cancelling several regional trains on Tuesday between Stockholm and Uppsala, Stockholm and Västerås, and Gävle and Linköping at the request of the Swedish Transport Administration, which wants to free up space on the tracks. 

At the same time, weather forecaster SMHI warned that, while snowfall would decrease over the day, there would still be a risk of slippery roads in many areas.

“It’s still continuing to snow, but the intensive snowfall we are now warning about will come to an end during the day, starting in the south of the country,” state meteorologist Angelica Lundberg told the TT newswire.  “Over the coming days there may be an increased risk of slipping and this is the case most of all close to the coast.” 

Bengt Olsson, press officer for the Swedish Transport Administration, told SVT that the disruptions seen on Sunday and Monday looked likely to ease off on Tuesday. 

“It’s a bit calmer so far. There’s another type of road surface to day. It’s starting to freeze up a but. There’s a lot of crust from the snow and patches of ice out on the road, so its the risk of skidding that we are trying to deal with today.”

The slippery roads have led to some busses being cancelled, with Dalatrafiken, the bus operator in Dalarna, cancelling several regional bus services. 

Buses parked at the Keolis bus depot in Värtahamnen cruise terminal in Stockholm.
Photo: Anders Wiklund/TT

Stockholm’s transport operator SL suspended the Lindingöbanan Light-railway line on Tuesday morning, and has also reduced some commuter train services. In Söderort, Huddinge and Botkyrka all bus services have been cancelled. 

“The measures taken to prevent skidding aren’t working,” SL’s press spokesperson Andreas Strömberg told SVT. “At Juliaborg in Huddinge six of our buses got stuck, so the traffic controllers decided to cancel all further services so we can get in snow ploughs.

Snow was continuing to fall on Tuesday over much of central Sweden, and SMHI has issued the lowest “yellow” weather warning for Sörmland, Västmanland, Örebro, Dalarna, and the north of Värmland. 

In most places, there is now between 5cm-15cm of snow, with 20cm in some places.