Heavy snow shuts down Alpine highways

3rd February 2005, Comments 0 comments

3 February 2005, MUNICH - Overnight snow that many Alpine residents said was the heaviest fall for years brought chaos on roads through Europe's highlands on Thursday, with jack-knifed trucks blocking highways to the main passes. The main motorway between the German city of Munich and Austria's Salzburg had to be closed for a time while rescue crews winched stranded big rigs clear of the carriageway. Car drivers were warned to fit chains on their tyres or else stay home. High-lying villages in Austria's Sa

3 February 2005

MUNICH - Overnight snow that many Alpine residents said was the heaviest fall for years brought chaos on roads through Europe's highlands on Thursday, with jack-knifed trucks blocking highways to the main passes.

The main motorway between the German city of Munich and Austria's Salzburg had to be closed for a time while rescue crews winched stranded big rigs clear of the carriageway. Car drivers were warned to fit chains on their tyres or else stay home.

High-lying villages in Austria's Salzburg province were cut off from the outside world with roads impassable. Austrian radio reports said up to two metres of snow had been dumped on some places.

Cautious truck-drivers hunkered down in rest areas waiting for the weather to clear, and police warned there was no parking space left in the lay-bys along 70 kilometres of the A8 motorway south of Munich. Two southern German rail links were closed because of snow on tracks.

With daytime temperatures a degree or two above zero and thick wet cloud over the Alps, it was ideal snow-producing weather.

At lower altitudes, the snow ploughs were winning the battle, and Munich Airport said flights were back to normal with runways and taxiways cleared. On Wednesday, 200 flights had to be cancelled.

German police said an 86-year-old woman froze to death outside her home after she was unable to make her way inside.

The snowstorm extended right down the Balkan chain, with the northern suburbs of Athens turning white. Greek television said the northern Greek port city of Thessaloniki had about 10 centimetres of snow. Temperatures of minus 10 Celsius were reported.

The precinct of Ioannina was particularly hard hit, and winds of up to 100 kilometres per hour were forecast for parts of the Aegean.

DPA

Subject: German news

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