Snow Chaos in Austria: Avalanche Alarm Level Red

The Alps have become an extremely dangerous area in the past couple of days. Heavy snowfall and avalanches have led the authorities to issue the highest danger warning, level five, while hundreds of residents and tourists are trapped in villages that are cut off due to roads that are snowed under. Authorities suggest to stay away from many mountain areas and pay close attention to official updates.

„Jack Frost, we’ve had enough!”, is a cry heard from the depths of the internet where pictures of houses practically drowning in snow and trapped in thick, white walls of freshly powdered snowfall are frequently being uploaded with the hashtag “#schneechaos” (snow chaos). What might seem like a picturesque winter wonderland is quickly becoming a danger for many Austrians surrounded by the Alps, with the avalanche warning reaching an all-time high of five (code red) around the area of the Northern Alps of Salzburg; (several people had deadly accidents already). Hundreds of residents, including tourists, are trapped in areas such as Hohentauern/Pölstal with no way of entering or leaving. Their food rations are low and they have to rely on local farmers for getting bread and milk.

(Good to be back from Austria. Have never seen such snow masses. For us a magical landscape, for the inhabitants and tourists it has become a real challenge. Crossing my fingers because of the Avalanche warnings and #snowchaos.) 

Firefighters, the Bundeswehr (German armed forces), and the Bundesheer (Austrian armed forces) are on constant duty; shoveling up to ten meters of snow off of streets and rooftops that are quickly becoming hazardous for everyday life. Schools, restaurants, hotels and entire skiing areas have been shut down and will remain closed for the next couple of days as the snow does not seem to be slowing down. Those who have booked a hotel for a skiing vacation in the next couple of days should note that canceling their stay will only be possible if their accommodation is completely non-accessible.

(In the Alps and at the edge of the Alps are awaiting new snow masses, along with that the danger of snow break and avalanches. #snow #snochaos #alps) 

The reactions on social media are divided, those who are in danger are sending pictures and videos to media outlets as their only way of contact with the “outside world”. Others are trying to view the snowy situation from a more humorous perspective. Videos of snow-shovelers jumping off their roofs into pits of soft snow and others who are stuck in their homes tweeting, ‘We used to call this “snow chaos”, winter!’; show just how pessimistically optimistic Austrians can be.

Although some people on Twitter are trying to take the situation lightly… 

(Does anyone know how much it costs to replace my headlights with powerful flame throwers?)


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