FURTHER SNOW IS FALLING IN PARTS OF THE ALPS WITH ‘HIGH’ AVALANCHE DANGER
Huge amounts of snow have fallen in parts of the Alps. Some people have been caught in avalanches, villages were cut off and more snow is on the way. There have been some large spontaneous avalanches. There are some excellent skiing conditions, but it’s highly dangerous off piste.
The fiercest storms started in the north and western Alps, in Switzerland and France.
Up to 2m has fallen at altitude in a few places.
There are some spontaneous avalanches happening.
Further east, Austria has also seen some heavy snow in the Tirol and Salzburg.
The new snow has been falling on the snowpack that has an extremely weak, and widespread, layer near the base of the snow.
The fresh snow is putting extra pressure on this already very weak snowpack.
The temperatures have been warm in the Alps and heavy rain has also fallen with flooding worries.
The Avalanche Death Toll in the Alps Continues to Climb and the latest incidents we have heard about come from Austria
Four people were killed in avalanches in the Tirol in Austria over the weekend.
Extreme caution is urged across many parts of the Alps.
It is one of the most dangerous periods in recent years across the Alps.
There have been 45 deaths so far this winter and that comes as many resorts are closed.
After easing on Sunday more snow is on the way, though not in such large amounts.
Here’s the scene in Val d’Isere, France, first thing on Monday morning.
30cm is forecast and the avalanche danger is at Level 4.
People in Val d’Isere are being asked to clear the snow from the roof of buildings as it could slide off and bury passing pedestrians.
And Val Thorens has been monitoring the snow levels over the past few days.
It was quite a storm last week with Level 5 avalanche danger in parts of France and Switzerland, plus Level 4 in some places in Austria.
Up to 2m fell in a few spots with many others having well over a metre.
Ski resorts remain open across Switzerland with some lift closures due to the snow levels.
In Switzerland for Monday there remains a ‘considerable’ risk of avalanche with Level 3 in many places and ‘high’ at Level 4 in some areas in the east of the country.
“The large amounts of fresh fallen snow and freshly generated snowdrifts from this last week are continuing to consolidate,” said the Swiss Institute for Snow and Avalanche Studies.
“Beneath the thick layers of fresh snow, particularly in the Valais and in Grisons, there are strikingly weak layers.
“Avalanches can be triggered in these layers by persons, as various large-spread avalanche releases of the last few days have amply demonstrated.”
There is now excellent levels of snow across many parts of the Alps with conditions above average for the time of year.
For an analysis we turn to Fraser Wilkin from weathertoski.co.uk
“Following last week’s wild weather, snow depths are now way above average across the north-western Alps (e.g. Tignes, Val Thorens, Chamonix, Verbier, Zermatt, Mürren, Engelberg, Laax), especially at altitude where three-day storm totals (between Wednesday and Saturday) were between 1m and 1.5m above 2200m, with even more in places.
“Indeed, all parts of the Alps currently have excellent snow cover, though we do appreciate that publicly accessible lift-served skiing is still only possible in Austria and Switzerland.
“If skiing in the Alps does become more accessible to greater numbers of people later on this season, even if that means skiing in the Alps beyond the “normal” season (i.e. later in spring or in summer) then there is plenty to be optimistic about, from a snow perspective at least.”
Courtesy of planetski.eu