Galtür avalanche 20 years on

With all the snow falling in Austria I noticed that next month is the 20th anniversary of the Galtür avalanche that left 31 dead, 26 injured and left a trail of devastation.

This animation shows its devastating power. https://youtu.be/PBxl3i8Bzro

The avalanche was considered the worst in 40 years. Three weather systems originating from the Atlantic accounted for large snowfalls up to 4m deep. Freeze-thaw conditions created a weak layer on top of an existing snowpack; further snow then settled. This, together with high wind speeds, created large drifts and caused roughly 170,000 tons of snow to be deposited.

Even more snow is expected in this and surrounding regions.

alps

The extreme amounts will fall mostly on the north of the range with very little on the south side, more or less the opposite of what happened last year.

Of course Alpine snowfall, from year to year, has always varied greatly as this study of San Bernadino shows.

 

 

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