Paris deploys armoured vehicles as snowstorm approaches

16th December 2010, Comments 0 comments

France on Thursday deployed armoured vehicles on key roads around Paris as the capital braced for another snowstorm, a week after the city was paralysed by the heaviest snowfall in almost 25 years.

Gendarmes positioned 16 armoured vehicles on highways to prevent a repeat of incidents last week that saw thousands of motorists either spending the night awaiting help or abandoning their cars.

Normally used for crowd control, they were deployed because they are capable of clearing abandoned vehicles from roads, said Colonel Yvan Noailles.

The French government was accused last week of being unprepared for the sudden snowstorm and this time round is taking more precautions, with an interministerial crisis cell up and running since early Thursday.

Thirty-two French departments, or administrative regions, have been warned that they face snow and ice over the next 24 hours, with up to five centimetres (two inches) forecast for the Paris region.

Last Wednesday 11 centimetres of snow fell on Paris in one day, the most since 1987.

© 2010 AFP

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