Temperatures to rise again in snow-stricken Austria

Temperatures will edge up again next week, meteorologists said today (Thurs).Weather experts announced that temperatures may increase up to six degrees centigrade in some areas in western Austria on Monday. Regions currently blanketed in around 30 centimetres of snow may experience some rainfall at the beginning of next week, while conditions in the eastern flatlands will remain mostly dry.Rising temperatures increase the possibility of avalanches in the Alps. Mountain officials in Tyrol already warned today of a “considerable” threat. Around 20 to 30 people lose their lives in avalanches in the Austrian Alps every year as they racing down the hills at speeds of up to 300 kilometres per hours (kph).Dozens of traffic jams and hundreds of accidents occurred during the past few days as many areas of Austria have been confronted with intense snowfall since last weekend.A 74-year-old Vienna resident died instantly when he crashed against the car of an elderly couple on a slippery main road near Podersdorf yesterday afternoon. The people in the other vehicle, aged 71 and 66, were just slightly injured, according to police in the province of Burgenland.The 45-kilometre A21 Außenring motorway had to be completely shut down as a between the Steinhäusl junction and Vösendorf south of Vienna for around four hours yesterday afternoon due to the conditions.Activity at Vienna International Airport (VIA) was little affected by the weather. Austria’s biggest airport said only a few flights were delayed, adding that the biggest change of schedules caused by late arrivals due to conditions at other airports.Meanwhile, a leading meteorologist stressed that the apparently “sudden breakout” of winter was “not a weather phenomenon”.Alois Holzer, a weather expert at national broadcaster ORF, said on Ö1 radio yesterday evening: “Strong snowfall on a 1 December in Austria is nothing unusual but rather a very common occurrence.”