High winds, heavy rain, snow: Most of France placed on weather alert

Some 24 hours on from Storm Gérard, a new low-pressure system is circulating

Low-pressure system Fien is making its way up from the South West
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[Update 16:35 following new information from Météo France. There are still 16 departments on orange alert either for strong rains/flooding (Landes, Pyrénées-Atlantiques) high waves warnings (Var and Corse du Sud) or snow (Yonne, Haute-Marne, Côte-d'Or, Vosges, Haute-Saône, Doubs, Territoire de Belfort, Haut-Rhin, Ain, Savoie, Haute-Savoie and Cantal)]

France’s national weather service has warned of further disruption today, putting several departments on orange (second level) alert and many further on yellow alerts (first level).

It comes on the heels of Storm Gérard, which on Monday (January 16) left 90,000 homes without power and saw road, rail and ferry routes impacted by strong winds and fallen trees.

Read more: Storm Gérard: 90,000 homes in France without power, travel disrupted

This morning (January 17), strong winds, heavy rain and snow continue to threaten large parts of the country, particularly in the south, as low-pressure system Fien moves in.

Météo France warned of strengthening winds and heavy rain over the South West as well as intermittent snowfall over the Massif Central as Fien crosses the country from south-west to north-east.

Gusts of up to 137km/h have been recorded in Socoa (Pyrénées-Atlantiques) and 30 to 40mm of rain has fallen over Landes and Pyrénées Atlantiques since Monday evening.

The strong wind will cause a risk of big waves on the coasts of the Var and South Corsica.

Snow expected

Meanwhile, snow is expected from Normandy to the Paris basin. Although Météo France is forecasting small amounts in general, it added: “We cannot exclude it reaching a few centimetres very locally”.

Departments under orange alert this morning are: Landes, Gers, Pyrénées-Atlantiques, Hautes-Pyrénées, Cantal, Lozère, Ain, Isère, Savoie, Haute-Savoie, Yonne, Aube, Haute-Marne, Côte-d'Or, Var, Haute-Corse and Corse du Sud

People in areas affected by an orange alert are advised to stay away from bodies of water, to avoid driving down an even partially flooded road, to keep up to date with the situation and not to go down into basements or cellars.

Morning frosts extended from the northern borders to Normandy, Limousin and Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes, but minimum temperatures are milder (4C to 7C) from the South West to Corsica.

Maximum temperatures are expected to reach between 13C and 16C on the Mediterranean, but elsewhere they remain a fresh 3C to 8C.

Later this evening and overnight, significant snowfall could arrive in Creuse and Allier before moving towards the south-east.

Météo France will be updating its advice during the course of the day, with more information on its website.

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