In Vorarlberg, another 50 to 60 centimeters of fresh snow was added overnight across the country, and more in the mountains. From Tuesday noon to Friday morning, 130 to 150 centimeters of fresh snow fell in the country, locally more.
Fire brigades in constant use
The heavy snowfalls also kept the fire services on their toes during the night. The fire brigade has had to move out around 60 times since Thursday at 7 p.m. According to the rescue and fire brigade control center, the emergency services mainly cleared bent trees aside.
Stuck cars and trucks also caused numerous fire services across the country.
Arlberg communities cannot be reached
Onset of winter in Vorarlberg
No electricity in Höchst, Fußach and Gaißau
On Thursday evening, there was also a power outage that affected 7,400 connections in Höchst, Fußach and Gaißau. The snowfall had caused several earth faults in the 110 kV network. As a result, the two lines to the Höchst substation were automatically disconnected from the grid. While technicians from vorarlberg netz were working flat out to repair the damage, individual areas could quickly be supplied with electricity again by switching in the medium-voltage network. From 8:20 p.m. all customers were supplied with electricity again, informed the Illwerke.
The state warning center estimated the avalanche danger as large. This means that warning level 4 prevailed at all altitudes. The main danger comes from new, fresh and older drift snow. This lies on an unfavorable old snow surface and is very prone to failure. Remote releases and many spontaneous avalanches are to be expected. The se could be very large, it said. This could also endanger exposed traffic routes. The number of spontaneous slab avalanches will decrease over the course of the day as the precipitation subsides.
Especially older, extensive drifts are covered in snow and difficult to recognize. Individual winter sports enthusiasts could therefore very easily trigger avalanches. According to the state warning center, inexperienced persons should refrain from activities away from secured slopes.
- L200 between Nesslegg and Warth
- L197 between Alpe Rauz and St. Christoph-Schmittentunnel
- L197 between Stuben and Langen
- Flexenstraße between Zürs and Alpe Rauz
- L198 between Steeg and Warth
- L192 between Gargellen and Galgenul
- the L188 between the Maurentobel tunnel and Schrun
- L50 between Götzis and Klaus
- L96 between Schruns and Bartolomäberg
- L93 between the intersection with the L188 and the L92
- L714 between Gütle and Ebnit
- L51 between Bad Laterns and Laterns
- L94 between L188 – St. Anton and L96
- L97 between Klösterle and S16
- L21 between Sulzberg and the L205
- L66 between the L190 and Göfis
Snow chains compulsory
for cars and trucks
- L193 between Fontanella and Faschina
- L200 between Schoppernau and Schröcken
- Kehlegger Strasse
- for the L714 between Gütle and Ebnit
- S16 between Bludenz-Montafon and the Arlberg tunnel
- L193 between Au and Damüls
- L200 between the Achrain tunnel and Alberschwende
- L7 between Schwarzach and the intersection with the L200
- L9, Rucksteigstrasse, between Möggers and Leutenhofen
- L12 between Langenerstraße in Bregenz and Fluh
- L20 between Sulzberg and Doren
- L21 between Sulzberg and the intersection with the L4
- L48 between Dornbirn and Bersbuch
Calming weather in sight
On Friday the weather should calm down gradually. In the morning it still snows widely, although the intensity of the snowfall in the morning already subsides. In the Lake Constance area and the Vorderwald, the snowfall subsides around noon, and in the afternoon the clouds loosen up here. In the other areas the snowfall ends in the afternoon.
Traffic chaos on Thursday
Persistent heavy snowfall caused problems in Vorarlberg on Thursday. Stuck trucks clogged the streets. In the Arlberg area, roads had to be closed, towns were cut off. The Pfänder tunnel on the Rheintalautobahn (A14) was temporarily closed because of the backlog on the German side.
Avalanche hits house
Due to the snowfall and sometimes strong winds, there was a high level four avalanche danger. In Klösterle, an avalanche hit a residential building around 3:50 a.m. in which six people were staying. The masses of snow penetrated through a window into the corridor, nobody was injured. The exit of the “Wildentobel avalanche” relocated Klostertalerstraße (L97) over a length of around 200 meters, the street remained closed until further notice.
Snow vehicle crashed
In Dalaas, a snow vehicle slid ten meters down a slope while backing up. The vehicle came to a standstill on the roof against a garden wall. A 36-year-old co-driver was briefly trapped with his legs underneath, he and the 28-year-old driver were admitted to the Feldkirch regional hospital with minor injuries.
The road conditions were generally difficult, especially at higher altitudes. The Arlberg expressway (S16) was temporarily closed due to vehicles getting stuck; according to the ÖAMTC, the Arlbergstraße (L197) between Langen am Arlberg and St. Anton was also inaccessible due to the risk of avalanches. This meant that the Vorarlberg Arlberg towns were initially no longer accessible by road. The rearmost section of Bregenzerwaldstrasse (L200) was also closed due to the danger of avalanches, which also cut off Warth from the environment.
Places cut off
Gargellen in the Montafon was also inaccessible. The connection from Schruns to Bartholomäberg (Montafon) also had to be closed. In the mountain community, many streets as well as elementary school and kindergarten were closed on Thursday. On the higher streets of Vorarlberg, snow chains were compulsory for trucks. Road users also had to accept long delays in lower regions of the country. A lot of patience was needed around Bregenz. Because many trucks had broken down on snow-covered lanes in Germany, there was a backlog that made it necessary to close the Pfänder tunnel. As a result, there were traffic jams due to the high volume of traffic on the alternative routes, and the city tunnel was repeatedly closed for short periods.
Train traffic was also affected. The ÖBB closed the Arlbergbahn route due to the amount of snow and the danger of avalanches. A rail replacement service has been set up, according to press spokesman Christoph Gasser-Mair. However, travelers should plan sufficient time reserves and find out about the current status before starting their journey, because the road situation could lead to delays. The Arlbergbahn line was initially closed until Friday, 4 p.m. A new assessment by the avalanche commission of the ÖBB will take place on Friday morning.
Due to the situation, the state of Vorarlberg asked the armed forces for assistance, informed the responsible state councilor Christian Gantner (ÖVP) in the afternoon. As part of an assistance mission, a helicopter was requested for transport and reconnaissance flights, and the avalanche rescue train is to be put on standby to support the local emergency services and the communities.