Snows kill at least 17

Kingston Whig-Standard - - WORLD NEWS -

BER­LIN — Heavy snow­fall con­tin­ued Thursday in parts of Aus­tria and south­ern Ger­many, with sev­eral places cut off and the bad weather ex­pected to per­sist. Snow was caus­ing prob­lems in other parts of Europe, in­clud­ing in Nor­way’s Arc­tic Sval­bard ar­chi­pel­ago.

Aus­trian po­lice said that a 16-year-old boy from Aus­tralia was killed in an avalanche in St. An­ton am Arl­berg as he was ski­ing with his fam­ily on Wednesday.

In neigh­bour­ing Slo­vakia, the moun­tain res­cue ser­vice said a 37-year-old man was killed by an avalanche in the Mala Fa­tra moun­tains. A seven-year-old child was killed in Ay­ing, near Mu­nich, Ger­many, by a fall­ing tree. Ger­man news agency dpa re­ported that po­lice be­lieve the tree was weighed down by snow.

That brought to at least 17 the num­ber of weather-re­lated deaths re­ported in Europe over the past week.

Sev­eral rail­way lines in the Alps were closed be­cause of the snow, trucks and cars got stuck for hours on a high­way in south­west­ern Ger­many and schools were closed in parts of Bavaria.

Roads into sev­eral places were closed — al­though Galtuer in western Aus­tria, where a mas­sive avalanche in 1999 killed 31 peo­ple, was reach­able again on Thursday af­ter be­ing cut off.

The Aus­trian min­is­ter re­spon­si­ble for tourism, Elis­a­beth Koestinger, said that “in most ski­ing ar­eas, there is no rea­son for con­cern at present if peo­ple keep to the rules and don’t leave the se­cured slopes.”

Aus­trian pub­lic broad­caster ORF re­ported that the weather was ex­pected to calm on Fri­day but fur­ther heavy snow could be ex­pected on Sun­day.

In the Czech Repub­lic, around 9,000 house­holds were with­out elec­tric­ity on Thursday af­ter heavy snow in re­gions bor­der­ing Ger­many and Aus­tria.

ROBERT MICHAEL/GETTY IM­AGES

A man uses a snow blower to clear his court­yard from snow on Thursday in Ober­hof, east­ern Ger­many.

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