At least seven people are killed and ski resorts evacuated amid avalanche fears as huge snowstorm hits Germany and Austria – with FOUR FEET more due to fall in the next two days
- Heavy snowfall since the weekend has brought chaos in Germany and Austria
- At least seven people are dead in weather-related accidents across the region
- Up to four more feet of fresh snow could fall in the coming days, forecasters said
- Some ski resort towns have been evacuated and people told to avoid the pistes
At least seven people have been killed as a huge winter storm hit ski resorts in southern Germany and Austria with whole Alpine towns evacuated amid warnings of another four feet of fresh snow expected by Thursday.
Avalanche risks were at their highest level across much of the region after several days of heavy falls caused several deaths.
A 28-year-old man and a 23-year-old woman who went missing while snowshoeing were found dead near Salzburg in central Austria, while about 40 rescuers with dogs were still searching for two others who went missing while snowshoeing near Hohenberg in Lower Austria, the Austrian news agency APA reported.
Truck drivers help each other after being trapped by heavy snowfall on the Autobahn A8 near Holzkirchen, southern Germany, on Monday.
A digger clears a road near Holzkirchen, Bavaria, after heavy weekend snowfall
In Germany, 44-year-old man died in Wackersberg in Bavaria when he was hit by tree branches brought down by heavy snow, police said.
Authorities also said Monday that a woman who was buried by an avalanche last week in Uri, Switzerland, died of her injuries Saturday.
Also on the weekend, three skiers in Austria were killed by avalanches and one woman in Bavaria died in a weather-related incident.
The Hochkar alpine road and the entire Hochkar skiing region in Lower Austria were closed because of the high risk of avalanches. Residents and visitors were asked to leave the region by the end of the day yesterday.
Road conditions were treacherous across much of Germany and Austria as the snowfall hit
Austrian authorities warned skiers not to go on the slopes and not drive their cars unless needed. Up to four feet more snow was forecast for the coming days and the alpine country said it was getting mountaineer teams and helicopters ready for possible rescue missions.
In Bavaria, authorities also had to close roads and some train lines because of heavy snowfall and in some parts of southern Bavaria and the Steiermark region in Austria, schools were closed on Monday because of the weather conditions.
Drivers help each other after being trapped by heavy snowfall on the A8 near Holzkirchen
Council workers remove snow from a street in Friesenried, southern Germany, on Monday
Horses stand in the snow in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, southern Germany
In addition to the deaths further south in Europe, police in Norway on Monday released the names of four skiers – a 29-year Swedish woman and three Finns, aged 29, 32 and 36 – who are presumed dead after a 300-yard-wide avalanche was reported last Wednesday in Tamok valley, near the northern city of Tromsoe.
Heavy snowfall and poor visibility had hampered rescue efforts over the past few days.
Meanwhile, the Netherlands was bracing for strong winds. National carrier KLM canceled 159 flights Tuesday to and from European destinations because Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport will use only one of its runways due to the expected storm.