Orange Météo France alert on wind, snow and avalanches

Heavy snowfall, strong winds and icy rain are expected across the country

An orange Météo France weather warning - the second-most severe - is in place across 12 departments due to strong winds up to 130km/h, heavy snow, and risk of avalanches.

The warning, which is termed “dangerous”, is in place in the north (Pas-de-Calais, Nord, Somme and Aisne), and in the west (Savoie, Hautes-Alpes, Alpes-des-Hautes-Provence, Drôme, Ardèche, Haute-Loire, Lozère, and Cantal).

Heavy snowfall is expected (up to 20-40 cm) in the north and across the Alpine region even in the low-altitude areas, along with icy rainfall - at lower temperatures than the average for this time of year - in the Massif Central area.

Strong winds are expected in the Hauts de France, with gusts of between 100-130km/h in Pas-de-Calais.

There is even a risk of avalanche in the Savoie, especially across high-altitude roads, due to a snowfall of over 20cm last night at 1,500m altitude. Avalanche risks are usually issued just two or three times’ per season.

Residents are also warned to be alert to the risk of falling trees, and Météo France advises that any outside work is kept to a minimum, with no work to be done on rooftops or chimneys.

It warns drivers to be especially careful during rainfall and afterwards, to be alert to any ice or the potential for invisible black ice, and to respect any diversions due to snow or ice.

The public is also warned not to use any other method of heating apart from proper radiators and safe-to-use storage heaters.

The rest of the country (except Aude, Tarn, Tarn-et-Garonne, and the Gers) is still in “yellow” alert mode, due to risk of high winds and snowfall or heavy rainfall.

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