Snow and ice storm hit France hard

March 15, 2013 at 3:12 PM
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PARIS, March 15 (UPI) -- A late-winter European storm that hit France with snow and ice this week could deal a $914 million economic blow to the country, officials estimated.

Airline, trucking, rail, farming and auto insurance industries have been among those hard-hit by the storm.

Repairs will be needed on roads, crops were ruined and electricity was knocked out in some areas.

Melting ice and snow could eventually cause flooding, authorities said.

Airlines canceled flights and passengers had to go home without their luggage. More than 10,000 suitcases and other bags sat at Roissy-Charles de Gaulle airport, The reported Friday.

The bags were to be sent to their owners, said Olivier Janicaud, a spokesman for Air France, the airport's major carrier.

Car insurance claims precipitated by the unseasonable weather could exceed $130.6 million, officials said. More than 100,000 people had already filed claims related to snow and ice. .

A representative for an association of truck drivers estimated additional shipping costs could be $26.1 million a day because of vehicles disabled by road conditions and drivers being forced to make lengthy detours around accident scenes.

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