Heavy snowfall in Vorarlberg and Tyrol on Saturday caused a serious level 4 avalanche danger in the mountains, as well as serious traffic disruptions in the valleys.

After the landslide, 91 people were trapped in a Dornbirn nightclub, but according to the city, there was no danger to them. In Tyrol there were problems not only on the roads, but also in the railway service. In addition, power was cut in some places due to trees falling on the lines.

Numerous main junctions are impassable.

The ÖAMTC reported severe winter road conditions, especially on the northern side of the Alps and on the eastern edge of the Alps. Numerous major routes were impassable on Saturday morning, with multiple traffic jams and accidents. Highways were also damaged and cars became stuck, which in turn hampered road clearing efforts. For example, on Saturday morning the western motorway (A1) near Salzburg Nord was impassable due to truck recovery work. The situation on the Tauern motorway (A10) was little better: the Katschberg tunnel to the south had to be closed at short notice.

In Tyrol, the Brenner road (B182) near Gries was closed due to stranded vehicles, and there were also obstacles on the A13 Brenner motorway due to snowfall. Due to the snow load, trees were repeatedly broken – fire crews and mine clearance services worked at full capacity.

Thousands of households were left without electricity

The onset of winter has also put a strain on emergency services in Upper Austria. State Fire Command had flown 659 missions since midnight alone, and of the state’s roughly 900 fire stations above Enns, 364 bases were in use by mid-morning, according to an initial balance sheet released Saturday. Most of the incidents involved stopped vehicles and heavy snowfall that damaged power lines. According to Netz OÖ, about 26,000 households were left without electricity at around 10:00 am.

“Please stay home and avoid unnecessary car travel.”

Hannes Niedermayr from LFK

“Please stay at home and avoid unnecessary car trips,” Hannes Niedermayr from the Upper Austrian Fire Department (LFK) told APA. From the central region to Innviertel, emergency services are already “very stretched.” Trees that fell due to snow loads blocked roads across the country and damaged power lines, forcing vehicles to be rebuilt in all areas. The nationwide power outages alone are draining our resources. LFC ordered the bases to be occupied “to the extent possible” during power outages so that the population could turn there for help. Especially in the Braunau area, the duty officer described the situation as “tense” in terms of operations. “And it’s only morning,” Niedermayr emphasized.

Avalanche danger level raised to “significant”

Newly fallen snow and so-called wind slabs raised the avalanche danger level to “significant.” Despite winter driving conditions, police caught a total of 45 drunk drivers and six drug-impaired drivers during special checks Saturday night, the press release said.

A 32-year-old alcoholic driver’s fuses blew out in one of the accidents caused by slippery snow. A man of the same age, who was in the back of the car, slipped at a traffic light due to summer tires and slightly touched the car. A drunk man came out, grabbed a local resident and punched him in the face.

50 centimeters of fresh snow – or more

In western Austria, 50 centimeters or more of fresh snow fell overnight in many places in the mountains, so the second highest level of avalanche danger was declared due to the prevailing conditions. This applied to places above the tree line or 2000 meters above sea level. Spontaneous avalanches are possible at any time and can threaten open areas. Federal state avalanche warning services have called the often weak connection between new and old snow problematic. Winter sports enthusiasts are urged to exercise extreme caution.

Due to heavy snowfall, a landslide occurred in Dornbirn-Gütl around 4 a.m., displacing parts of Ebniterstrasse and the parking lot of the Konrad Zom nightclub. This meant that initially 91 local guests could not leave the area. People are feeling well and there is no danger, the city of Dornbirn reported early Saturday morning. As soon as safe passage through the parking lot is possible, the evacuation of the building will begin and work is in full swing.

In Tyrol, the Brenner motorway (A22) had to be closed in sections due to stranded vehicles, but was once again usable on Saturday morning. According to Asfinag, 21 clearing machines were used on Brenner. Due to a power outage caused by a cable fire, the Roppener tunnel on the Inntal Autobahn (A12) was also temporarily impassable. Traffic was resumed around 10 am. Electricity problems arose not only in the tunnel, but also in households in 19 settlements. According to ORF Radio Tirol, Sölden in Ötztal was also hit.

According to the ÖBB, there were interruptions in the train service between Imst and Schönwies in the Landeck region, as well as between Innsbruck and Scharnitz. The railway line between St. Margrethen in the Swiss canton of St. Gallen and the German border town of Lindau (Bavaria), passing through Vorarlberg, was also closed. The reason for this was the breakdown of the contact network in Lindau.

ÖAMTC has appealed to road users to be aware of the current road and weather situation before traveling and to take snow chains with them when traveling to high altitudes. Nonessential travel should not be avoided during this time. (APA/mbo)

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