Avalanches disrupt Swiss road and rail traffic

Saturday’s avalanche activity in cantons Graubünden and Valais impacted on transport connections over the weekend. Several rail lines and mountain roads were disrupted.

This content was published on February 25, 2012 - 18:23 and agencies

The resort of Samnaun in the eastern corner of Switzerland was closed to traffic; both roads leading into the town were blocked because of potential avalanche danger.

Unseasonably warm temperatures are partly to blame for the increased risk of avalanches. The other culprit is November’s mild and dry weather followed by heavy snowfall in December and January.

“Such intense avalanche activity as we’ve had this winter only comes about once every 30 years,” Christine Pielmeier of the Institute for Snow and Avalanche Research told the Swiss News Agency on Saturday.

This weekend’s avalanches have resulted in entire sections of the snowpack slipping downhill, leaving bare earth behind.

Pielmeier said that the avalanche danger would slowly subside within the next few days. The institute urges winter sports enthusiasts to choose their routes carefully.

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