Switzerland is expected to be hit by more heavy snow and rain over the next three days, which will add to the significant snow that has already fallen. The avalanche warning has been raised to 5, the highest level, across much of the Swiss Alps.
Further roads were expected to close. The road out of the Val d’Anniviers was expected to shut at 8PM and could remain closed until Tuesday, Pascal Stoebener, head of natural dangers in Valais, told the newspaper Le Nouvelliste. People have been advised to leave or risk being trapped until Tuesday.
Stoebener described the snowfall as exceptional, with snow levels exceeding those in 1999 when the alpine region was shutdown by heavy snow. Parts of western Valais and the Bernese Oberland above 2000m should expect 1 to 1.5 metres of new snow, according to Meteonews.
Avalanche risk at highest level
The avalanche risk map above was issued at 5PM on Sunday 21.01.17. The next one will be issued on Monday morning. When the avalanche risk level is at 5, The Institute for Snow and Avalanche Research (SLF) advises skiers not to engage in winter sports beyond open ski runs and trails.
The canton of Valais has an interactive map showing areas of high avalanche risk.
Zermatt has again been cut off form the outside world. Trains stopped running on Saturday night due to rock falls. The road in has been cut too. People queued in Zermatt on Sunday to be helicoptered out.
Visitors and residents of Zermatt were trapped earlier this month on 8 January 2018.
In addition, the train line between Spiez (BE) and Goppenstein (VS) has been disrupted. In eastern Switzerland, train lines between Filisur and Davos have been cut.
Avalanche risk led to people in some areas being evacuated. Residents were told to vacate 28 chalets in Zinal in the Val d’Anniviers. People were evacuated from some of the villages near Zermatt too.
Meteo News report (in French) – Take a 5 minute French test now
The Institute for Snow and Avalanche Risk (SLF) website (in English)