Heavy Snows Paralyze Parts of Austria

  @Gooch700 on January 07 2012 2:19 PM
Spectators leave the stadium in heavy snow fall after the qualification for the fourth event of the 60th four-hills ski jumping tournament was cancelled in Bischofshofen
Spectators leave the stadium in heavy snow fall after the qualification for the fourth event of the 60th four-hills ski jumping tournament was cancelled in Bischofshofen Reuters

Very heavy snows and high winds have paralyzed parts of Austria, shutting down major railway line and stranding thousands of tourists at snowed-in ski resorts, according to various reports.

In addition, almost 2000 homes are without electric power; while many roads are impassable.

Since Thursday, up to 4 feet of fresh snow have fallen on parts of the country. More heavy snows are forecast by weather officials over the next few days.

Very heavy snows have been dumped upon the Tyrol and Vorarlberg, Austria’s westernmost province.

Provincial government official Erich Schwaerzler told the Austria Press Agency that army helicopter rescued 52 people were trapped at a mountain refuge in Vorarlberg

The east-west rail line which connects Vienna and Innsbruck with western Austria and Switzerland is expected to remain closed until Sunday.

Associated Press reported that two other railway lines connecting the Tyrol province with southern Germany were also closed.

State officials have warned the public of a high probability of avalanches in regions with the highest snowfall totals. As a result, the Austrian military has placed helicopters on alert for potential rescue operations.

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