France - Europe

Armoured cars clear French roads as new snowfall blocks traffic

Reuters/Pascal Rossignol

Armoured cars were used to clear some roads in the Paris region Monday, as new snowfall caused flights to be cancelled, bus services to be suspended and delays in rail services. Three young passengers were killed when a train crashed into their car but it is not clear if the accident was weather-related.

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Forecasters had said that the unusually heavy snowfall would stop on Sunday evening but it returned with a vengeance to the Paris region and much of France on Monday morning.

Reuters/Luke MacGregor

Police armoured cars were used in some areas around Paris, as lorries formed roadblocks at motorway toll booths and many bus services were cancelled both in the city and on its outskirts.

Arrivals at Paris’s Charles de Gaulle and Orly airports started again at midday Monday after stopping in the morning but 30 per cent of departures were cancelled, officials said. Strasbourg, in the east of the country, closed for two hours in the morning.

Thousands of passengers were stranded in French and other European airports over the weekend.

Eurostar and Thalys train links to Britain and Belgium continued to suffer delays Monday.

The snowfall stopped during the morning, leading to the lifting of a ban on heavy goods vehicles moving which had been declared during the morning.

Météo France forecasters admitted that the snowfall was heavier than expected but lifted alerts in several areas by the afternoon.

Three young people returning from a nightclub were killed in the early hours of the morning in the north of the country when a train crashed into their car on a supposedly safe crossing. None of the train’s five passengers was injured.

Rescuers were not able to say if the weather contributed to the accident.

Météo France predicts cloud and rain over the next few days but a return of snow Thursday.
 

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