Dramatic evacuation of Hohe Wand in ice storm
The Hohe Wand mountain ridge in the district of Wiener Neustadt was the scene of dramatic evacuations on Wednesday as the state of emergency continued in Lower Austria, caused by five days of ice storms.
In the last few hours on Wednesday afternoon, all access to the Hohe Wand was cut off by ice-covered boulders and broken tree branches, as a result of the ice storm.
Police and fire departments were busy all morning visiting residents living in the area to ask them to leave their homes, many of which are threatened by falling trees.
Some residents left voluntarily, while others refused to leave. Some elderly residents had to be evacuated for medical reasons.
Dozens of residents of wooden houses have left already, while a group of remaining residents in stone houses believe they can weather the storm.
A crisis team has been set up in the Hohe Wand municipality, as weather forecasts for the next few days show that conditions are set to worsen.
Trees are unable to bear the enormous load of ice, and break like matchsticks, burying everything underneath them.
Streets have been closed, and many roads are impassable, even for emergency vehicles. The region has been declared a disaster zone, with no access.