At least seven people have died in the Alps during a weekend of heavy snowfall, with skiers facing a high avalanche risk in Austria, Germany, and Italy, reports the BBC.
Two separate avalanches killed two German skiers in Austria’s Vorarlberg mountains. A third skier died in Pongau district, near Salzburg.
In Bavaria, a skier died when a tree collapsed near Bad Tölz, and an avalanche killed a young woman in Bavaria’s Teisenberg mountains.
Two climbers died in the Italian Alps. A mountain rescue team found their bodies in the area of 9,186ft (2,800m) Mt Cristalliera, in the Alps north of Turin. Rescuers are searching for several missing people elsewhere in the Alps.
The second-highest avalanche warning level is now in force across the Austrian Tyrol and in much of the Bavarian Alps. Skiers have been warned to avoid any off-piste skiing, and many mountain roads have been closed because of the avalanche risk.
The heavy snow has forced many schools to close temporarily across Bavaria and has disrupted some train services there. Italy is in the grip of a cold snap – there is snow on Mt. Vesuvius near Naples – a rare sight.
More heavy snowfall is expected in the coming days – as much as 4-feet of fresh snow in Austria by Thursday.