Winter storms hit Europe with avalanche threat over the Alps | News | DW


Schools stayed closed in mountainous parts of Austria and Germany on Wednesday as warnings of avalanches were made for several regions. Hundreds of people stayed in their homes due to blocked roads.

Food was trucked into the Berchtesgaden neighborhood of Buchenhöhe in the Alps near the Austrian border southeast of Munich for the 350 residents unable to leave their homes because of the snow. 

Residents were encouraged to clear snow from the roof of their houses

Residents were encouraged to clear snow from the roof of their houses

Roads were blocked leading to a 20-kilometer (12.4-mile) traffic jam near Munich on Wednesday. There were power outages in some areas after snow-laden trees took down power lines. Some buildings collapsed from the weight of the snow on the roof. One man was badly injured when he fell from his roof in Turrach, Austria, while shovelling snow. 

Snow on and around Schliersee in Bavaria

Snow on and around Schliersee in Bavaria

A 62-year-old teacher was one of the 14 people to have died in the last week due to the extreme weather. He was killed while skiing in Mariazeller Bürgeralpe in Austria when he fell and got buried in a snowbank.

The bodies of four skiers have still to be retrieved after they were caught up in a 300-meter (990-foot) wide avalanche that hit a valley near the northern Norwegian city of Tromsoe last week. 

Eleven German hikers were snowed in without electricity and little food over the weekend in a cabin near Salzburg before being rescued on Monday. 

Avalanche warnings

The Austrian Weather Service and the European Avalanche Warning System warned that some parts of Austria have reached a level four warning on the European Avalanche Warning scale. 

Wind slabs can be released easily above the tree-line, even by a single skier, in areas where it is difficult to see because of the weather.

jm/sms (AP, Reuters)

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