UPDATE: Nine departments on snow alert

Motorists were urged to avoid unnecessary journeys before 12noon on Monday, while cyclists and pedestrians were advised to exercise 'utmost caution'

National forecaster Meteo-France adds five departments to afternoon snow and ice alert list

Five more departments are on orange alert for snow and ice.

In its late-afternoon weather bulletin, national forecaster Meteo-France added Charente-Maritime, Haute-Garonne, Pyrénées-Atlantiques, Hautes-Pyrénées and Deux-Sèvres to the list of departments on its second highest weather alert.

Earlier in the day, it put Ariège, Aude, Pyrénées-Orientales and Tarn on alert.

The forecaster said 'heavy and sticky snow' is expected through the evening and into the night, with up to 5cm forecast for lower levels, up to 20cm between 400m and 500m, and as much as 25cm at higher altitudes. Some snow is also expected in the Lot and Aveyron, forecasters said.

At about 12noon, Meteo-France lifted weather alerts for 13 other departments, mainly in Île-de-France and Normandy, as the late winter blast left a thin covering of snow in the capital.

Early on Monday, as commuters headed into work, the préfecture de police de Paris warned in a statement speed limits on motorways near Paris were limited to 80kph and overtaking was prohibited.

HGVs over 7.5tonnes have been banned from using the RN118 between Les Ulis and pont de Sèvres, authorities said, adding the ban extends to buses and coaches and vehicles carrying dangerous goods.

Authorities advised motorists to avoid all unnecessary travel until at least 12noon, and called on pedestrians and cyclists to exercise 'utmost caution'.

Paris airports Charles de Gaulle and Orly both recorded 2.5cm of snow overnight, while up to 5cm fell in Seine-Maritime and Seine-et-Marne. Meteo-France said light snowfalls would continue throughout the morning, and up to 8cm could settle in parts of Île-de-France.

Conditions have been exacerbated by sub-zero temperatures, forecasters said, which have meant that snow has settled.

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