The Eiffel Tower turned away tourists on Tuesday as snow swept across northern France, snarling trains and giving the capital its first real dose of wintry weather this season.
Meanwhile, some 70 flights were cancelled in Madrid and tens of thousands of schoolchildren around Spain had to skip class Monday as snow fell heavily over much of the country.
The Meteo France weather service put the greater Paris region on alert for snow and black ice on roads, among 36 departments on alert across the country.
Snow had already dusted Paris on Monday before quickly melting away, though more has settled in its suburbs.
But Meteo France says the snowfall will intensify Wednesday evening, leaving three to 10 centimetres in most areas on alert – conditions that could cause headaches for commuters.
‘This will be the first blast of winter, late but the real thing, with cold air from Scandinavia colliding with a perturbation coming up from the south,’ said forecaster Sebastien Leas.
Rail operator SNCF has had to slow down trains on several of its high-speed TGV lines, with service disrupted across much of northern France.
The cold snap marks a sharp contrast from the weeks of mild and rainy weather across northern France in recent weeks, prompting flooding in several areas and pushing the Seine River to more than four metres above its normal levels as it flows through the capital.
That forced the closure of Paris station along a main RER commuter line, which will not be reopened until Saturday at the earliest.
The airport in the Spanish capital was forced to close two of its four runways, leading to the cancellation of 70 flights, a spokeswoman for airport management company Aena said. The runways were reopened later in the day, she said.
In the central region of Castilla-La Mancha, more than 38,000 students stayed home as schools and bus routes were closed, the regional government said.
In other regions in Spain’s northwest and northeast, several thousand schoolchildren also avoided class because of the snow.
Railway lines and roads across the country were also closed due to the weather.
This is just the latest snow-induced disruption to hit Spain.
Last month, authorities deployed 250 soldiers to help rescue thousands of people trapped in their vehicles by heavy snow on a highway near Madrid.
However, a heavy snowfall in central Japan brought road traffic to a standstill on Tuesday, trapping some 1,000 cars, local officials said, adding they have asked the military for help but have not heard of any injuries or illness among those trapped, reports Reuters.
Snow has reached 54 inches in Fukui prefecture 200 miles west of Tokyo, as of 2:00pm (0500 GMT) on Tuesday, the heaviest snowfall in nearly four decades in the region, a local meteorological observatory said.
The traffic standstill, stretching for about 6 miles in the prefecture, was caused by some cars going off the shoulder of the road in the snowstorm and others stopping to put on tire chains as a precautionary measure, an official at a local office of the transport ministry said.
‘We have blocked traffic heading into the affected area, so no more cars will join the jam. In some parts, cars have resumed moving, but only to be caught in a standstill again,’ the official said.
The snowfall in Fukui is expected to continue at least until Wednesday morning, the local observatory said.
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