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Article published the Friday 07 December 2012 - Latest update : Friday 07 December 2012

Flight delays at Paris airport as snow hits France

A 32-metre high Christmas tree has been installed by the now-traditional big wheel on Paris's Place de la Concorde
Reuters/Charles Platiau

By RFI

Flights from Paris’s Charles De Gaulle and Roissy airports were running an hour late on average, following the first serious nationwide snowfall of the year in France. A skier died on Thursday afternoon after being caught in an avalanche in the Alps.

Snow fell across France on Thursday night and Friday morning, moving east across the country.

Thirty-seven departments were put on alert but by midday 1è had been given the all-clear.

Interactive map of France

Teams were set to work clearing the Paris airports’ runways overnight and officials promised that they were better prepared than in 2011, when thousands of passengers were left stranded and the handling of the disruption was widely criticised.

Airport authorities said that average delays were of about and hour and warned that cancellations were possible.

Disruption to other traffic was limited, although heavy goods vehicles were banned on the RN20 in the Essonne region near Paris.

The Thalys rail network, which links France to Belgium, warned of possible disruption and offered to change tickets for Friday free of charge.

A 20-year-old woman died in the French Alps on Thursday after being caught in an avalanche.

She had spent three-quarters of an hour under the snow before being rescued and resuscitated. She later died at the hospital in Grenoble.

Her companion, a man who was found unconscious after a quarter of an hour, regained consciousness soon after being found.

The 150-metre-wide avalanche was caused by a group of skiers hors piste.

While the alert was lifted on Friday morning in Normandy, Paris and Ile de France and other northern regions, snowfall was expected to hit the Alps at midday and continue there and in the Jura overnight and into Saturday morning.

Police in the Swiss canton of Valais launched an avalanche alert on Friday and advised against hiking and cross-country skiing.

tags: Airport - Alps - Charles De Gaulle - France - Jura - Normandy - Paris - Ski - Snow - Switzerland - Transport - Travel - Weather
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