The departments in question stretch in a thick band from the Vendée in the west to Moselle in the east, and include all of those surrounding Ile-de-France.
Between three and 10cm of snow are expected, depending on the area, with as much as 15-20cm expected for regions east of the Pays de la Loire, south of Aisne, and even across the capital.
The national “Grand Froid” plan for homeless people has also been launched in 22 departments. This protocol is enacted when an episode of extreme cold or snowfall is forecasted for at least two days, and reaches the given threshold for especially intense, cold weather.
The plan means that over 1,000 urgent housing places open for homeless people to take shelter, on top of the 13,000 places that homeless charities and organisations seek to open over the normal winter time.
This means 649 extra shelter places in Ile-de-France (of which 238 are in Paris); and 409 across the rest of the 14 departments in question.
“Behind these numbers, there are unbearable physical realities for people living on the streets,” said Minister for territorial cohesion, Jacques Mézard, in a press release. “We are doing all we can to make sure that they have a roof over their heads, and doubling our efforts before the arrival of this week’s cold snap.”
A “crisis unit” has been put in place across Ile-de-France, with emergency service provisions increased temporarily during the cold weather, including an extra 12 Samu staff dedicated to the treatment and helping of homeless people in need across Paris.
As for the Météo France warnings; Aveyron, further south, is also on orange alert despite all of its immediate neighbours on the lower alert level of yellow, with Météo France explaining that the region’s “rain-snow” line had dropped overnight, with snowfall now expected.
The forecaster is warning residents to be alert to potentially significant levels of snowfall in all of the orange warning departments, and watch out for difficult driving conditions well into the afternoon today (Tuesday 6 February), and into tomorrow morning (Wednesday 7 February).
Drivers are warned to only drive when absolutely necessary, and to watch out for signposts on the roads relevant to local conditions. Drivers are also warned to prepare a “winter kit” in their car, with provisions and equipment in the event that they become stuck on the roads, and could be waiting for several hours to be rescued.
The forecaster warns people to stay warm, but reminds residents to only use designated heaters for the purpose, and never to use other equipment such as cookers or soldering irons.
Apart from the snow, Météo France is also warning of icy rain, especially in the Lorraine area, which often sees snowfall too at this time of year.
The total list of departments on orange alert for snow and ice is as follows:
Ardennes (08), Aisne (02), Eure (27), Oise (60), Aube (10), Aveyron (12), Cher (18), Eure-et-Loir (28), Indre (36), Indre-et-Loire (37), Loir-et-Cher (41), Loire-Atlantique (44), Loiret (45), Maine-et-Loire (49), Marne (51), Haute-Marne (52), Mayenne (53), Meurthe-et-Moselle (54), Meuse (55), Moselle (57), Orne (61), Sarthe (72), Paris and the “petite couronne” (75-92-93-94), Seine-et-Marne (77), Yvelines (78), Deux-Sèvres (79), Vendée (85), Vienne (86), Vosges (88), Yonne (89), Essonne (91) and Val-d'Oise (95).
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