French authorities on alert as deep freeze sets in across France

Tuesday is set to be the coldest day of France's Siberian freeze which has seen swathes of the country activate their "cold weather plans" and left three homeless people dead, so far.

French authorities on alert as deep freeze sets in across France
Soultzeren, eastern France, as temperatures drop below -10C. Photo: AFP
In some parts of the country temperatures are set to feel as low as -10C, according to France's national weather agency Meteo France.
And Tuesday and Wednesday are expected to be the coldest days of the week as the so-called “Moscow- Paris” icy weather front takes a grip of the country.
On Wednesday, more snowfall is expected to hit southern France before spreading to the north of the country throughout the day on Thursday. 
“Cold weather plans” have been activated in 68 departments in France which will see around 5,344 beds, including 1,751 in Paris, made available for homeless people during the big freeze.
In Paris and Bordeaux temperatures are set to drop to -4C on Tuesday during the day and -5C at night, said the national weather agency. 

In Pictures: French Riviera hit by snowfallPromenade des Anglais, Nice in the snow. Photo: AFP

(Soultzeren, eastern France, as temperatures drop below -10C. Photo: AFP)

The cold is set to stick around for the next few days elsewhere in the country too, with temperatures in Strasbourg and Lyon at night dropping to a chilly -7, while in Lille and Toulouse temperatures are predicted to sink to -6. 
Meanwhile in Clermont-Ferrand the mercury is predicted to drop as low as -9C. 
Even the south of France has not escaped the icy temperatures with snow hitting the French Riviera on Monday and the Var and Alpes-Maritimes still on orange alert — the second highest warning — for snow and ice on Tuesday. 
But in Strasbourg some brave swimmers were not put off by the cold and took a dip in the outdoor pool.
Orbey, eastern France. Photo: AFP
Three dead
So far the cold has claimed the lives of three homeless people, including one 35-year-old in the Drome department in the southeast of France. 
The second, a 62-year-old, was found in a forest in the Yvelines in the greater Paris region of Ile-de-France and the third, aged 53, was found in a field in the French Alps on Monday afternoon. 
In the east of France, charitable organizations have been trying to find the most vulnerable people living in the street in an effort to get them into sheltered environments. 
And the weather is certainly exceptional for this time of year. 
In fact, France hasn't had such an intense cold snap this late in winter since 2005.


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.