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Freezing temperatures and icy roads as cold wave hits France

Road signs are covered by frost in Belmont, eastern France on January 6, 2017.
Road signs are covered by frost in Belmont, eastern France on January 6, 2017. AFP/Frederick Florin

30 départements, or counties, were placed on high alert on Saturday, up from only 20 the day before. Temperatures as low as -15°C were recorded Saturday morning.


Regions in northern and eastern France could experience freezing rain and even snowfall today as temperatures drop due to a cold wave sweeping across France.

The inclement weather will pass first through the regions of Nord, Pas-de-Calais, Picardy and Normandy before reaching Paris and Champagne by midday. Burgundy and Lorraine are expected to be affected this afternoon.

Officials have warned of icy roads and are asking drivers to proceed cautiously. They have also suggested checking traffic and driving conditions before setting out on the road.

Brief but intense

While the passing cold wave is expected to let up by Sunday, authorities have explained that the massive cold front coming down from Scandinavia and Central Europe, in addition to the atmospheric disturbance coming from England, could result in freezing rain.

It is this that is especially dangerous for drivers. Freezing rain can reduce drivers’ visibility and create black ice on roads.

Freezing temperatures

Temperatures dropped to as low as -15°C this morning in Luxueil in northeastern France.

Other cities in the region, such as Strasbourg, recorded -8°C, while some parts of the greater Paris region measured -11°C.

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