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15,000 motorists caught in the snow in French Alps
About 15,000 drivers got caught by heavy snowfall in the French Alps and were forced to spend the night of Saturday to Sunday in emergency shelters in the Savoie region in southeastern France.
A number of motorists were also forced to spend the night in their cars in the Savoie region where about 15,000 vehicles were blocked due to bad weather conditions.
“Fire-fighters patrolled on the roads during the entire night and no distress was reported,” the Savoie prefecture's spokesperson told AFP.
Most of the travellers were taken care of in emergency centres where the occupancy rate almost reached 100 percent.
“83 emergency shelters were opened,” said the Minister of Transport Alan Vidalies on French radio Europe 1.
The snow and ice hit the region as many people were heading to and leaving from ski resorts in the Savoie region during this holiday season.
The freezing rain and icy conditions caused the death of a 27-year-old man whose car slid into a ravine in the Belledone mountain range.
Sunday morning, the traffic was still really bad in the Savoie region as well as in the 11 other regional departments placed under the orange weather alert – one step under the maximum red alert – in eastern France.