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Friday, January 27, 2023

“Snow free” for schoolchildren in southern Carinthia

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Heavy snowfall caused problems with the power supply and traffic in Carinthia on Monday. According to the state alarm and warning center (LAWZ), there were around 100 fire brigade operations by midday due to fallen trees, accidents and vehicle salvage. Snow chains were compulsory in many places on higher roads, and around 5,000 households were without electricity by 12:00 p.m. Children in the Völkermarkt district get free on Tuesday.

The snowfall continued on Monday afternoon, becoming even heavier in places. Because in some areas the way to school and kindergarten would be too risky or not possible due to cut train connections, all public schools in the Völkermarkt district will be declared school-free on (tomorrow) Tuesday. However, care is guaranteed at every school, the state press service announced. In principle, an absence from class due to force majeure is excused for all students – i.e. also outside the Völkermarkt district.

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According to the police, there were several traffic accidents with property damage or minor injuries in Central and Lower Carinthia, and in some places trees had fallen on the road, for example on Keutschacher Straße or Wörthersee Süduferstraße. Some roads had to be closed due to obstructions, such as broken down trucks, such as the Turracher Straße (B95) near Saureggen.

Video: ORF editor Anita Steiner-Steinkellner reports on site

highway blocked

There were also problems on the autobahns, the ÖAMTC reported: the southern autobahn (A2) was blocked in several places, the main problem being stuck trucks. On the A2, the section between Gräberntunnel and Styria in the Mooskirchen area was covered in snow, heavy vehicles repeatedly remained lie. At the Feldkirchen exit after the Ehrenthalerberg tunnel, a truck bound for Italy crossed the road and blocked traffic. The Karawanken Autobahn (A11) towards Slovenia was completely closed from the Villach junction. Due to the heavy snowfall, no journeys are possible between Klagenfurt and Bleiburg until Tuesday noon. A rail replacement service has been set up, the ÖBB announced.

Avoid parks and forests

Warnings came from the cities of Klagenfurt and Villach on Monday afternoon: public parks, forests or hiking trails should be avoided. The damp snow could break branches and fall from the trees, according to the Klagenfurt city communication. 300 employees from the road construction and traffic, city garden and waste disposal departments were on duty, and 31 farmers with snow plows were hired. In Villach, a number of parks and three cemeteries were closed altogether.

The police asked in the Lower Carinthia area, especially near Völkermarkt, to refrain from all car trips that are not absolutely necessary, as the amount of snow can lead to dangerous situations. Furthermore, all truck drivers were asked to put on chains, as there is already a corresponding obligation on a number of roads and trucks are repeatedly stuck.

Increased avalanche danger

According to the state energy supplier Kelag, there were first disruptions to the power supply in the early morning hours in the Lavanttal and Koralpe areas in the far east of Carinthia. While some damaged areas had been repaired there by the morning, new ones were and are constantly being added, for example in Jauntal and Rosental but also as far as Velden, Wernberg and Feldkirchen. More than 100 fitters were on duty, but the accessibility to damaged areas decreases with the increasing amounts of fresh snow, so it will take time before all households have electricity again.

The amount of fresh snow also increases the risk of avalanches during the course of the day. According to the avalanche situation report, there is a great danger in the terrain at higher altitudes in the Gurktal Alps, the Karawanken, the Sau-Kor- and Packalpe, and snow sports off the secured pistes are discouraged in some areas.

According to Asfinag, the Slovenian authorities blocked the Spielfeld border crossing for trucks with more than 7.5 tons from entering Slovenia around noon due to the amount of snow. Affected truck drivers were diverted to the old border crossing by the police and Asfinag employees near Spielfeld. You could park there temporarily at the customs office square. The lockdown was lifted in the afternoon. There were power outages in the southern Styrian region of Wies-Eibiswald in the Deutschlandsberg district. In the meantime, around 1,000 households were without electricity, according to Energie Steiermark.

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