NEARLY two dozen departments are on orange alert today for snow and black ice as a “brief winter storm” brought heavy freezing rain that caused chaos when it turned to ice on hitting roads and temperatures struggling to get above -5C in a zone from Brittany across to Paris.
Several accidents have already been reported, including an eight-car pile up on the D137 in Ille-et-Vilaine, at Saint-Symphorien, and a lorry jack-knifing between Pleyben and Carhaix in Finistère.
Some school buses have been cancelled in Côtes d’Armor, Ille-et-Vilaine and Mayenne.
This morning Météo-France extended its previous orange alert to include Eure and Orne alongside the Ile-de-France and Pays de la Loire region, Côtes-d'Armor (22), Eure-et-Loir (28), Ille-et-Vilaine (35), Indre-et-Loire (37), Loir-et-Cher (41), Loiret (45) et Morbihan (56).
Brief snowy periods were being followed by intense icy rain showers that were freezing instantly as the storm moved towards Basse-Normandie and Centre regions, hitting the hills of Normandy down to Orléan and Berry. The icy rain is expected to reach Haute-Normandie, the Paris region and Bourgogne by late morning before temperatures start to ease.
Météo-France warned that roads and pavements would be “particularly slippy” for several hours. The Paris region could be badly hit despite gritting operations through the night as a thin initial snow cover would be cleared by icy rains hitting frozen roads.
In Caen this morning, Bison Futé reported that the périphérique was all but closed with Saint-Malo, Rennes and Fougère in Ille-et-Vilaine also being badly affected. The A11 in Sarthe is very difficult, as is the RN12 in Côtes d’Armor.
Screengrab:TF1 news with Louis Bodin