A man died due to unexpectedly heavy snowfall in the Rhône-Alpes region in France. Rail traffic was also disrupted and 300,000 homes were left without electricity due to this early winter storm.
A 63-year-old motorist died on Thursday evening in the town of Roche, in the north of Isère, after a tree fell, it was reported by the prefecture.
The man was trying to move a tree that had fallen under the weight of snow around 7pm, with the help of other people, when a second tree fell on them. A 27-year-old man was also injured and hospitalised in Bourgoin-Jallieu.
Snowfall has caused power cuts, depriving some 300,000 households of electricity in four departments – Ardèche, Rhône, Isère and Drôme – according to energy provider Enedis.
“Our teams are being deployed but the situation is still evolving,” said Enedis.
In Isère, SNCF announced that train traffic was interrupted on three lines from Grenoble “at least until midday on Friday” due to trees falling on the tracks or threatening to do so.
The routes concerned are Grenoble-Lyon, Grenoble-Valence and Grenoble-Veynes.
Around 6pm on Thursday evening, passengers were evacuated from the Grenoble-Lyon train at Bourgoin-Jallieu, reported an SNCF Rhône-Alpes spokeswoman.
The Ardèche, like the Rhône, Loire, Ain, Isère, Drôme and Saône-et-Loire, was on orange snow-ice alert on Thursday.
Up to 20 centimetres of snow at low altitude and up to 30 centimetres in higher areas was expected overnight, according to Météo France.
In Isère, the prefecture has called on the population to postpone any non-essential travel, whether by car or on foot, and not to engage in snow removal or antenna restoration operations on a roof, for example, which could prove dangerous.
In the Loire, school transport was suspended on Friday, the departmental council announced Thursday evening, stating that “schools will nevertheless remain open”.