The snow has fallen abundantly since Wednesday in the region of Montpellier, where 2,000 "shipwrecked by the road" were rescued and at least 2,000 others were still blocked Thursday morning on the roads and highways of Herault.
At 9:30 Thursday, nearly 2,000 cars and their passengers were still blocked on the A 9 motorway near Montpellier and A 75 (Clermont-Ferrand-Beziers), after spending the night. "The head of the cork is being resorbed slowly", it was assured to the prefecture of Hérault which gave, as the day before, any precision on the number of people concerned.
On the networks Thursday morning, motorists were said exasperated by the situation: "Is it normal and that the only people who come to take news and offer food are motorists? We are stuck in the same place since 15H30! You realize?", tweeted at 9:00 a driver stuck with his children.
Some 2,000 other people were accommodated Wednesday afternoon and overnight in the 35 points of reception of Herault and were still in the morning in the unable to recover their abandoned vehicles on the highway.
Montpellier, placed on red alert all night, woke up under a thick layer of snow Thursday, 10 to 20 centimeters in the center and 30 centimeters in the north of the agglomeration. Thursday morning, it was not snowing anymore but heavy rains were expected.
The city was paralyzed: no tram or bus was circulating and all the establishments receiving the public were closed during this period of school holidays: nurseries, stops day-care centers, leisure centers, swimming pools, media libraries, halls and markets … Air traffic has been interrupted since Wednesday noon
Montpellier Mayor Philippe Saurel (DVG) explained that he froze and snowed only the turnouts are damaged, which derailed two tramway trains ". Adding that trees had fallen on catenaries, he assured BFMTV "try to get a line running as quickly as possible."
450 people found refuge in buildings made available by the town hall, including the Zenith and in a TGV requisitioned by the prefect in Montpellier station. The Hérault firefighters handled 3,219 emergency calls and hired 650 firefighters and 293 vehicles for relief, assistance, reconnaissance and refueling actions.
The snow gradually gained most of the country on Wednesday evening and fifty-three departments were on orange alert Thursday late in the morning mainly for snow-ice.
It was still snowing on the north of the Hérault and west Gard, south-east of Lozere, on the north and east of the Alpes de Haute-Provence, the Hautes-Alpes and in the interior of the Alpes-Maritimes. In Provence, the wind has formed drifts and icy patches, particularly in the interior of the Var.
Some 5,000 subscribers are without electricity in the sector of Alès (Gard).
The motorway A8, between Aix-en-Provence and Saint-Maximin, where in the evening thirteen snow plows had unlocked all stuck vehicles, was completely reopened around 10:00.
– light snowpack in the North-
Elsewhere in France, from the center-west to the south of the Hauts-de-France, the Grand Est and the Alps, the snow is announced and will be followed by "an episode of freezing rain," forecasts Météo-France.
View of the Place de la Bourse in Paris on March 1, 2018 under a thin layer of snow (AFP – Olivier MORIN)
In Burgundy, the A6 was cut in the middle of the night in the direction Lyon to Paris, up to Auxerre, said the motorway company APRR. The A47 Lyon-Saint-Etienne has also been closed Thursday since 9:00 in both directions at the height of Tartaras (Loire) following the accident of a tanker truck, through the central guard rails, causing a several kilometers
In the Drôme, around 02:00 am, a motorist was seriously injured after hitting a snow plow on the A7. An accident with a snowplow also occurred in the Ain, where a school bus ended up in the ditch by crossing a snowplow, without making any injuries.
In Ile-de-France, where the soil is covered Thursday morning with one to three centimeters of snow, the prefect of police activated the plan snow-ice and "strongly advises travel by car" until 14H00. The heavy goods vehicles traffic is forbidden on the N118 in the Yvelines.
Despite this snow, the Ile-de-France transports were little disturbed on Thursday morning, except for the buses in the departments of Val-de-Marne and Hauts-de -Seine
According to the SNCF, "no big delays or big disturbances" on the French network Thursday morning, but the speed of TGV was limited to 200 km / h by precaution on the axes Paris-Lyon-Marseille / Montpellier and to the Atlantic. In Montpellier station, the trains were between 30 minutes and two hours late.
In the South and the Rhone Valley, the redoux began slowly Thursday, as well as in New Aquitaine where all the areas Mandatory parking of trucks was being evacuated.
In the north of France, temperatures will also rise Thursday but will remain around 1 to 2 ° C in the afternoon in Lille, Strasbourg , Mulhouse, temperatures much lower than normal in the season.