The maximum avalanche alert has been issued for the French Alps due to Storm Eleanor
Weather warnings were issued for much of France on Thursday, including the French Alps – where the threat of avalanches remains high.
The French Alps remain on maximum avalanche alert on Thursday due to Storm Eleanor.
The storm, which has already claimed the life of a skier in France due to a falling tree, is currently sweeping through Europe, causing Paris' Eiffel Tower to close on Wednesday.
Storm Eleanor is also responsible for the deaths of at least four people across Europe and rare winter wildfires in Corsica.
Meanwhile, the mountains are filled with avid skiers on school holidays. Popular ski resort Val d'Isere in the French Alps has closed for the day due to ''heavy snowfall'', with several others following suit.
The French Ministry of Interior, Gérard Collomb stressed the seriousness of the situation.
“The storm is a sight best watched from afar,” Collomb tweeted. “Don’t be reckless, don’t drive near the coast and don’t underestimate the power of waves.”
⚠️🌊 #Eleanor La #tempête est un spectacle qui se regarde de loin. Ne soyez pas inconscients, ne circulez pas près des côtes et ne sous-estimez pas la puissance des vagues.
(🎥 @afp) pic.twitter.com/Ckc9zz2G5X
— Ministère de l'Intérieur (@Place_Beauvau) January 3, 2018
Avalanche warnings are currently in place in the French Alps due to heavy snow in recent days. The avalanche risk is at level 5 – the highest – in a range of ski resorts, including those in the departments of Haute-Savoie, Savoie, Isère and Hautes -Alpes.
France's interior ministry has urged skiers to exercise extreme caution and take maximum precautions to stay safe as Météo France warns that avalanches could be triggered at any time in any place due to the heavy snow.
Eleanor is the fourth winter storm to hit Europe since December. Following a generally mild Christmas for the continent, western and midland Europe has endured severe weather on several occasions this season.
One of the winter storms in question was Storm Ophelia back in October, one of the most powerful ever recorded in the northeastern Atlantic.