Avalanche alert in French Alps after winter's first snowfall
Much of the French Alps were on avalanche alert on Saturday after the first snowfall of winter hit the country on Friday. Lorries were banned from using the Mont-Blanc tunnel between France and Italy and other roads especially in Alsace and the northern Alps.
The Alpine departments of Savoie, Haute-Savoie and Isère were on avalanche alert on Saturday and there were fears of avalanches in the Pyrennees and the Vosges.
The sport and interior ministries on Friday evening warned hikers and skiers that “exceptional” snow and high winds have “considerably increased the risk of sudden avalanches” in mountainous areas.
Authorities are concerned after two avalanches, one of which killed a woman, last week.
Although restrictions on heavy goods vehicles were lifted in Savoie and Haute-Savoie, they were maintained in Isère.
Trucks were banned from using the Mont-Blanc tunnel on Friday because of weather conditions and the ban was maintained Saturday because of the Italian holiday of Santa Barbara.
Traffic was disrupted in mountainous areas and in the Paris region on Friday but, although there were warnings that ice might reappear on the roads in the east of the country, officials said that there were no problems on Saturday.
About 5,000 households in the north of the country suffered power cuts on Friday morning because of the snow but power was restored in the afternoon.
Video: Snow and ice in France