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Drivers warned to take care

Snow and ice cause problems with world rally champion Sébastien Loeb calling mountain roads “undriveable”

DRIVERS were warned to take particular care this morning as snow continued to blanket the country and 19 departments were on Orange alert for snow and black ice or flooding.

School buses were suspended in several departments including Aisne, Dordogne, Essonne, Oise, Picardie, Seine-et-Marne, Somme, Val d’Oise and Yvelines.

The departments of Gers, Haute-Garonne, Hautes-Pyrénées, Tarn and Tarn-et-Garonne are on Orange flood alert after several days of very heavy snow and rain.

Seven people died in road accidents across the country in conditions that even nine-times world rally champion Sébastien Loeb called “undriveable”.

He said roads in Alpes-Maritimes were so bad he was driving at “just 20mph” in the final sections of the Monte Carlo Rally. The final two stages were cancelled due to the weather.

Heavy goods vehicles have been banned from roads in Ile-de-France until 10.00 this morning with other restrictions possible in the north, centre and east of the country.

Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault warned that drivers should take care as roads were “particularly difficult”.

In Paris, public transport started to get back to normal, with 100% of buses in action inside the Péripherique and 75% in the rest of the capital. However, 31 bus routes were out of action first thing in the suburbs – although transport authority RATP hoped for things to improve as snow-clearing operations continued.

Metro, RER and trams were running normally. Yesterday around 100 passengers had to be rescued from a Metro train which broke down on a bridge above the Seine.

The weather this morning will see sleety snow spreading from Centre region towards the Pays de la Loire and the north of Brittany but will ease this afternoon and turn more towards Ile-de-France before dying out before midnight.

Photo: Twitter Ludovic Marin

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