Major winter storm kills 4 in Germany and Austria

A tractor clears snow near Holzkirchen, Germany, Monday. Austria and southern Germany got heavy snowfall that's already been blamed for four deaths. Photo by Lukas Barth-Tuttas/EPA-EFE

Jan. 7 (UPI) — Heavy snow has killed at least four people in Germany and Austria and the threat of additional avalanches remains “high” on the northern side of the Alps.

The massive winter storm dumped several feet of snow on the mountain resort of Tauplitzalm, Austria. Switzerland, Poland, Greece and Turkey were also hit hard by the storm.

Officials said two skiers died in separate incidents when the avalanche buried them in the snow. Rescuers dug them out but were not able to resuscitate them. A snowboarder died after veering off a steep slope and falling head first into the snow.

Another person died when their vehicle slid off an icy road and struck another in Bad Tolz, Germany, officials said.

An estimated 12,000 tourists were snowed in at the resort of Saalbach-Hinterglemm on Sunday. Experts set off an explosion to trigger a controlled demolition to prevent a larger avalanche.

More than 200 flights were canceled in Munich Saturday, trains were delayed and many highways were closed.

In the southern Alps, the avalanche danger was at a Level 4, the second-highest warning that can be issued.

Several schools canceled classes Monday.

Heavy snow fell late last week across the region. After a short reprieve, the snow resumed Sunday and is now expected to continue on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Greece is bracing for its second round of snow, but this latest storm won’t have the same duration as the first, the National Observatory of Athens’ Meteo service predicted.



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