Avalanche warning level raised to considerable in Switzerland
The Institute for Snow and Avalanche Research (SLF) has raised the avalanche warning level to “considerable” in a number of areas in the Swiss mountains. It follows a significant change in the weather in Switzerland, which saw up to 50 centimetres of snowfall in just 24 hours. The avalanche warning will be in place from December 5.
Considerable risk of avalanches in Switzerland on December 5 and 6
In the press release, the SLF announced that there is an elevated risk of avalanches in Switzerland because of fresh snow falling onto weak old snow. MeteoNews noted that up to 50 centimetres of snow fell on the Alps this weekend. As a result, large and spontaneous avalanches are possible, especially in the southern Alps on December 5 and the early hours of December 6.
In a statement, the SLF announced that it was raising the threat level to "danger level three", meaning the risk of an avalanche is “considerable”, especially in the “Simplon region as well as in the Binntal and the western part of Ticino.” "The danger spots are mainly on western, northern and eastern slopes above around 2.200 meters. In the high mountains they are on all [slopes],” the statement read.
One skier can cause an avalanche, Swiss authorities warn
Along with naturally caused avalanches, the SLF said "on both days, avalanches can be triggered even by one sole winter sports enthusiast.” 20 minuten recently reported a case that occurred on December 3, where three people were hit by an avalanche on the Piz Radönt.
While they were recovered by the emergency services, and one patient was flown to hospital, Rega confirmed that one member of the group had died at the scene. To be safe, the SLF recommended that skiing and snowshoe tours should only be carried out by experienced individuals, as they “require a great deal of experience in the assessment of avalanche danger on-site.”
For drivers, The Local reported that parts of the motorway and some mountain passes are now partially blocked by snow, especially in the southern ends of the Gotthard and San Bernardino passes - although this is likely to be clear by midday. The SLF said that the avalanche warning will likely remain in place until December 6.
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