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Snow hits France early

Daniel Finnan

France has been hit by unusually early snow with the first snowfall of the winter hitting the east of the country on Thursday and Paris Friday afternoon. The cold snap will see temperatures plummet and is likely to last at least a week, according to Michel Daloz of Météo France.


As in much of the rest of Europe, relatively heavy snow has hit lowlying areas three weeks earlier than usual. The cold is likey to move south at the weekend.

Temperatures will drop below zero overnight in some areas, with 0°C to 5°C during the day.

Although 2009’s winter saw the heaviest snowfall for 30 years,  it did not start in low-lying areas until December.

Snow has not arrived this early since 2005, when winter was also colder than last year. Any part of the country could be disrupted by the harsh weather this year, meteorologists warn.

Paris on Monday announced its plan to tackle the effects of cold this winter.

Six gymnasiums will provide emergency accommodation for the homeless as soon as the temperature falls below 10°C, adding 350 places to the 8,000 available throughout the year. Several other buildings will also be used as shelters.

Officials say that they still need to find another 13,000 places in the Ile de France region.

Each year 100 people die on the streets of the capital, according to city council employee Olga Trostiansky.

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