HUFFINGTON POST
12/28/2014 07:42 am ET Updated Feb 27, 2015

Thousands Stranded By Severe Weather En Route To French Ski Slopes

PARIS, Dec 28 (Reuters) - Long queues of vehicles lined routes to French ski slopes for a second day on Sunday after snow, ice and heavy traffic forced some 15,000 people into emergency overnight accommodation during the peak winter holiday season.

Authorities said the weather conditions, not unusual for the time of year but severe enough to make driving hazardous given the number of vehicles on the roads, were set to improve in the afternoon and on Monday.

Snowfalls of 30 to 60 centimeters (12 to 24 inches) over the past 24 hours led them to declare an "orange alert" for snow and ice in four departments of eastern and southeastern France; Savoie, Haute-Savoie, Ain and Isere.

"Getting to the ski stations is still pretty tricky and snow chains are mandatory. The advice is that all those who can should delay their journey," said the Transport Ministry in a statement.

The ministry of the interior said some of the 83 emergency shelters that received stranded motorists overnight would stay open to help reduce the level of traffic and cater for those not equipped with snow chains.

(Reporting by Gregory Blachier and Andrew Callus; Editing by Raissa Kasolowsky)