It began on the day before new year’s eve. From the North-West moist air flowed to the Northern edge of the Alps, the clouds erupted. 100 inches of snow within a day or two were not uncommon. Higher places in Bavaria, Baden-Württemberg and Austria sank under a metre-high layer. Part of the military disengagement device special, in order to supply cut off towns.

a Total of ten snow fronts in just twelve days, the experts of the Austrian weather service ZAMG have counted. The reason is the since the 30’s. December until today, the existing Northern traffic jam, says the ZAMG-climate researcher Marc Olefs. “In this weather the cold air masses are brought wet-with a strong high-altitude wind against the Alps.” Particularly strong regions of Baden-Württemberg and Bavaria and in Austria, the area of Arlberg, the Dachstein to the Salzkammergut and the hochschwab area were affected.

“extreme values”

How quickly the snow levels, in only twelve days, rose, show ZAMG data. Meteorologists can calculate from measurements of precipitation, air temperature and humidity for virtually every point in the Eastern Alps the snow depth. The model also takes into account effects such as rain that makes the snow fall, or melt of the snowpack due to rising temperatures.

the Following graph shows the evolution of the snow height of 30. December up to 11. January. The calculations include, in addition to Austria, Bavaria, Northern Italy and parts of Switzerland.

legend: On 30. December fraud the snow level in the foothills of the Alps from zero to ten centimeters, visualised with the colours of Yellow to pale green. The great Alpine valleys were free of snow. Twelve days later, the snow is almost everywhere, in the mountains, he piled several meters high (color Blue).

“looking at the total snowfall of the last few days, have reached some regions is already very extreme values,” says ZAMG-expert Olefs. So, like, for example, in Hochfilzen, within ten days of 311 inches of snow in Bad Mitterndorf about 280 cm, in Seefeld 208 cm, in the Ramsau am Dachstein in Austria, about 170 cm. Such amounts of snow there is above about 800 meters above sea level, only once every 30 to 100 years.

At many mountains, such as in Salzburg, the snow is now as high as otherwise only the end of January and beginning of February, informed the ZAMG. The blanket of Snow on the mountains way to take typically, in the course of the winter months and reach only to the end of the winter Maximum.


a Lot of snow not only means a high avalanche risk, also houses and trees are at risk because of the high load. And the Situation could worsen at the weekend. For the weekend, the German weather service DWD and the Austrian colleagues from ZAMG up to a Meter in said snow before. “You don’t like imagine, what can happen,” said Guido Wolz, head of the Regional weather Advisory in Munich of the German weather service (DWD).

at Least the avalanche danger fell on Friday, large Parts of Austria easily. In the most of the snow affected areas, the second highest warning level four was for the most part. On Thursday, the highest avalanche warning level of five, it was in many places.

skiers and ski mountaineers are expressly warned not to leave secured ski runs. “The structure of the snowpack is extremely unstable and avalanches can easily be triggered,” said Michael Butschek from the avalanche warning service Salzburg a message. “We strongly advise against driving in open terrain.”

With Material from dpa

Sam Yoon has many years of experiences in journalism. He has covered such areas as information technology, science, sports and politics. Yoon can be reached at 82-2-6956-6698.