Storm Gabriel: Swathes of France on alert for violent winds, snow and ice

Weather warnings for snow and ice are in place in the north of France while the west of the country braces for high winds with Storm Gabriel set to bring a new cold snap to the country.

Storm Gabriel: Swathes of France on alert for violent winds, snow and ice
Photo: AFP
Just one week after the first real snow of the season in the greater Paris region of Île-de-France and other parts of the country, a new icy (and windy) blast is on its way to France in the shape of Storm Gabriel. 
Weather warnings have been put in place in a total of 43 departments, some for snow and ice, including the Paris area, others for violent winds or avalanches. 
France's national weather agency Meteo France has put the orange weather warning, the second highest alert, in place for snow and ice in the following departments in northern France: Aisne, Ardennes, Aube, Aveyron, Cantal, Cher, Corrèze, Eure, Eure-et-Loir, Loir-et-Cher, Loiret, Marne, Mayenne, Nord, Oise, Orne, Pas-de-Calais, Sarthe, Paris and the area immediately outside the city known as the “Petite Couronne”, Seine-Maritime, Seine-et-Marne, Yvelines, Somme, Yonne, Essonne, Côte-d'Or, Haute-Marne, Meuse, Nièvre, Saône-et-Loire and Val-d'Oise. 
People in Loire-Atlantique, Vendee, Deux-Sevres, Vienne, Charente-Maritime, Charente, Gironde and Landes have been warned that violent winds are expected to hit the area. 
Meanwhile in Pyrénées-Atlantique a weather warning is in place for avalanches. 
The warnings were put in place at 6 am on Tuesday and are respected to remain so until at least Wednesday at 6 am. 
Anybody in the departments on orange alert are advised to remain vigilant due to the risk of dangerous weather. 
On the coast, the wind is expected to pick up on Tuesday from 4 pm but the strongest gusts are predicted to hit between 6 pm and 9 pm.
They could reach speeds of 130 km/h or more, on the islands near Vendée and Charente-Maritime in the west.
“This episode is likely to cause significant disruption of road networks and the operation of transport services,” said France's transport ministry, adding that motorists should check the state of the roads before driving. 
In the Ile-de-France region, heavy goods vehicles weighing over 7.5 tonnes and those transporting dangerous substances will be banned from the roads from 9 pm. 
Around 5 to 10 cm of snow is expected in most areas and the busy RN 118 road in the Ile-de-France will be closed to all traffic from 3 pm due to expected snowfall, with the police advising drivers to leave work early. 
Meteo France warned that the “snowy episode could make traffic conditions very difficult”, advising drivers to be “very cautious and vigilant” on the roads.

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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.