France told ‘stay vigilant’ as big freeze hits north

Several regions in the north and west of France have been put on an orange severe weather alert, with snow and ice expected to hit many areas later today.

France told 'stay vigilant' as big freeze hits north
The Jardin des Tuileries in Paris during a cold snap in 2010. Photo: Jean-Pierre Dalbéra

Météo France, the country’s national weather service, added two more counties to a list of over 20 in the Breton, Loire, Centre and Ile de France regions on high alert for the cold weather.

Members of the public are urged to be “very vigilant”, especially when driving, as temperatures are set to dip as low as minus five degrees and snow and black ice set in.

The cold weather has caused traffic problems throughout the northern regions, with both the transport and the interior minister urging the population to stay safe.

They urged the public to be "extremely vigilant while travelling and going about their daily lives because of the high risk of falls and accidents.”

They also recommended not travelling at all if possible.

The Maine-et-Loire county has already reported 10 accidents due to icy conditions, injuring seven people, since 2am.

School transport in four of the regions placed on orange alert has also been cancelled.

The orange alert is expected to hold until 3pm local time, and temperatures are expected to rise by a few degrees later in the week.

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South west France on red alert for flooding

Five areas in south west France have been placed on a red weather alert for flooding as storms lash the region.

South west France on red alert for flooding
Storms are moving in to south west France over the Pyrenees. Photo: Anne-Christine Poujoulat/AFP

Météo France has placed five départements in south west France – Pyrénées-Atlantiques, Landes, Hautes-Pyrénées, Haute-Garonne and Ariège – on a red weather alert for heavy rains and flooding.

Extremely heavy rainstorms have hit the area, with a band of storm clouds travelling along the Pyrenees, bringing the risk of avalanches in the mountains and flooding in lowland areas.

The neighbouring département of Pyrénées-Orientale is on orange alert, along with the principality of Andorra. In the north, Aisne is also on orange alert for heavy rain.

Heavy rain is expected to continue throughout Monday, gradually easing off towards the evening, although the flood alerts remain in place until Tuesday.