France prepares for big snowfall as first vacationers depart

09:06, December 17, 2010      

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French railway operators announced measures to ensure most mobility and scores of snow cleaners and even armed vehicles were placed at important road joints as another cold snap with snowfall was forecast to fall from Thursday overnight.

The national weather agency, Meteo France, predicted new strike of freezing weather till this weekend when the first French vacationers are departing for Christmas recreations.

It also put 34 French departments, including Paris and its suburbs, under orange alert for expected snowfall and frost.

The French government obviously learned lessons from the last traffic paralysation. The gendarmerie has deployed snow cleaners and strong horsepower armed-vehicles on Paris ring road where thousands of drivers were blocked in temperature below freezing point after heavy snowfall blocked the traffic on December 8 and 9.

According to state railway operator SNCF, slowdown and delays would be expected over the weekend, thus it reminded passengers to pay attention to information updating while guaranteed service for the South East and East destinations.

Temporary information desks are also in place in major stations across the country, SNCF said in a statement.

For civil aviation, Paris airport authority didn't impose any restriction for upcoming bad weather till press time but promised further update in notification as the situation develops.

The French interior ministry activated the interministerial crisis center on Thursday in order to minimize negative effect of the new chilly blow. Last week, the authorities suffered loads of blame for the gravity of the snow impact.

The snow layer will be as thick as 5 centimeters in less affected regions, while somewhere in the mountainous areas will expect thickest snow piling up to 20-40 centimeters until Friday, according to the Meteo France.

Source: Xinhua
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