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Avalanche and rain risk in Pyrenees

Downpours and avalanches due to heavy snowfall are expected in the Pyrénées-Atlantiques and Hautes-Pyrénées

HEAVY rain and avalanches were expected this morning the Pyrenees.

Météo France said yesterday there would be rain of an intensity only seen two or three times a year, turning to snow in the high mountains, and warned of severe avalanche risks in the Aspe and Ossau mountains in the Pyrénées-Atlantiques and the Haute-Bigorre in the Hautes-Pyrénées.

The risk is at the maximum “level five”, and the avalanche activity expected today is such as is seen only once a year. This is partly the result of heavy snowfall yesterday: at 1,400-1,1500, there was 20-40cm of snow, while at 2,000m there was a metre.

The prefectures of the two departments have placed the areas under orange alert.

Up to 100mm of rain has been predicted in the mountain foothills and up to 50mm in the plain.

Areas near the coast are also being warned of rising river levels because of the rain.

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