Hiker dies in Pyrenees avalanche as French temperatures plummet

Strong winds and snow in Godewaersvelde, northern France, on Friday
Strong winds and snow in Godewaersvelde, northern France, on Friday AFP

A hiker was killed in an avalanche in France's Pyrenees mountains on Saturday, as forecasters predicted temperatures falling over the coming week. A pedestrian was killed by a train in the north on Sunday morning.


The hiker, a woman, died when an avalanche swept her and her companion away at about 1,800 metres height on the French side of the Pyrenees.

The man was tken to the nearest road by sleigh, suffering from severe hypothermia.

Weather-watcher Météo-France raised the risk alert for avalanches in the Aspe and Ossau districts of the Pyrenees to high on Saturday afternoon.

Man killed by train

A pedestrian was hit by a train travelling from Amiens to Lille in north-east France on Sunday morning and the 55 passengers were transported to their destinations by coach.

The exact circumstances remain unclear and in inquiry has been opened.

Snow warning in Paris

Météo France warned that snow was likely in the Paris region and on the Mediterranean island of Corsica on Sunday afternoon after snowfall in the north-east and the Pyrenees on Saturday.

An anti-cyclone is bringing cold air from north-east Europe towards France and a sharp fall in temperatures is expected in the coming week.

Big freeze mid-week

As the thermometer fell on Sunday forecasters warned that the cold would be at its most intense on Wednesday and Thursday.

Dijon, in Burgundy, is likely to see temperatures of -10°C? Strasbourg, on the German border, -9°C, Toulouse -6°C and Marseille -4°C.

Temperatures will be four to eight degrees lower than the seasonal average but the chill is not expected to be as intense as the historic lows of 1956 and 1985, when Toulouse froze at -19°C.

Nor is it likely to be as cold as the last big freeze in 2012, although it will be the first time since then that there has been such a widespread and lengthy cold snap, according to Météo France forecaster Emmanuel Demaël.



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