Heavy snow in French Alps leaves 15,000 vehicles stranded

One man died when his car slid into a ravine

snow french alps

Around 15,000 vehicles are stranded in the French Alps after heavy snow covered the roads to the country's popular ski resorts.

An orange weather alert, the second-highest, was issued and a 27-year-old man died when his car slid into a ravine in the Isere region.

The BBC reports that the government has warned drivers to take the "utmost caution" and avoid travel if possible.

Weather forecasters said the snow will persist on Sunday and freezing conditions are expected next week.

ITV News reports that up to 2,000 British tourists are stranded at Chambery Airport near the Alps.

Local authorities were forced to set up shelters and arrange temporary accommodation for those caught in the extreme weather.

The roads were clogged with traffic when drivers stopped to put snow chains on their vehicles.

Briton Gavin Rigby told the BBC it took him 11 hours to drive from Val d'Isere and Bourg Saint Maurice, which usually takes 30 minutes.

He said: "The police should have got people to fit chains this morning after half a metre [20 in] of snow fell last night."

Elsewhere in France, wind caused havoc for travelling tourists.

Winds of up to 100mph closed the port of Calais and suspended car ferries to and from the UK, while the gardens of Versailles near Paris were closed due to strong winds.

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