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Warm weather and bad traffic: What to expect in Austria this Ascension Day

As Austria heads into the long holiday weekend, the weather forecast looks good but travellers should expect busy trains and "heavy traffic" on roads.

Warm weather and bad traffic: What to expect in Austria this Ascension Day
The holiday weekend weather forecast for Austria is good but travellers should prepare for delays. (Photo by JOE KLAMAR / AFP)

Thursday, May 26th, is a public holiday in Austria to mark Ascension Day and many people across the country are planning a trip for the long weekend.

This means roads and trains will be busy as people travel back home to visit family or head to cities like Salzburg and Vienna. 

As a result, the ÖAMTC has warned motorists of “heavy traffic” at the weekend, especially from Wednesday to Friday and again on Sunday.

FOR MEMBERS: UPDATED: How to save money on fuel costs in Austria

Key cross-border and inter-Austria road routes to be affected

The West Autobahn (A1) that runs between Salzburg and Vienna via Linz is expected to be busy this weekend, as well as the Karawanken Tunnel that connects Austria and Slovenia.

ORF reports there is also potential for heavy traffic on the Tauern Autobahn (A10) between Hallein and Werfen in Salzburg, and the ÖAMTC is predicting the Fernpass route (B179) in Tyrol will be overloaded with motorists. 

Additionally, a triathlon is being held in St. Pölten on Sunday and the Daffodil Festival is taking place in the Salzkammergut from Thursday to Sunday. Both events will further add to congestion on roads in those regions.

Anyone travelling by car this weekend – or in fact any other weekend – can find out more about traffic levels on the route via the ÖAMTCs traffic calendar and route planner.

READ MORE: Reader question: Will Austrian trains soon require seat reservations?

Busy trains across Austria

Austria is currently experiencing high demand for train travel and this is expected to continue over the long holiday weekend.

To ensure a seat, national rail operator ÖBB is advising travellers to book a ticket in advance. However, ÖBB has also confirmed there will be an additional 10,000 seats available on Ascension Day (Thursday).

READ ALSO: ‘The pandemic is not over’: Vienna keeps mask rule in public transport

Sunshine and warm temperatures

Despite the high chance of busy roads and trains this weekend there is some good news in that the weather forecast for Austria is good.

On Ascension Day, the weather should be mostly dry with a mixture of sunshine and clouds with temperatures between 18 to 26 degrees. There is a possibility of thunder storms in the mountains and Vienna is expected to be windy.

On Friday, the maximum temperature is forecast to be between 20 to 29 degrees but the weekend will be cooler with temperatures hovering around 20 degrees across the country.

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WEATHER

What are the chances of a white Christmas in Austria this year?

Yes, it's a bit early for Christmas weather forecasts, but it hasn't stopped meteorologists making predictions. Here's what they have to say about the possibility of snow in Austria this Christmas.

What are the chances of a white Christmas in Austria this year?

In less than a month it will be Christmas Eve and the suspense is rising on whether there will be a white Christmas, especially at low altitudes, broadcaster ORF said.

The weather models do not yet reach that far, but ORF Vorarlberg meteorologist Thomas Rinderer has looked at the statistics in a bid to predict the snowfall this year.

FOR MEMBERS: Everything that changes in Austria in December 2022

On average, there is a white Christmas in Bregenz every three to six years. The last time was in 2011, so statistically speaking, a white Christmas in the Rhine Valley would be more than overdue.

However, the first long-term forecasts see a relatively mild winter overall, so it’s unlikely that an extremely cold winter is imminent. This follows the warmest October in Austria since records began although, according to ORF meteorologists, “surprises are still possible”.

READ ALSO: Austrian Christmas traditions: The festive dates you need to know

This is because even in a mild winter there can still be a lot of snow. 

The Copernicus climate change service of the EU is predicting winter will be dry from France to Germany, but the Mediterranean area will be humid. This can lead to precipitation moving up from Italy into Austria where it’s likely to become snow.

Last year, some parts of Austria (especially in the west) enjoyed a white Christmas after a cold December and plenty of snowfall. This year, many regions in the Alps are already coated in snow although temperatures are set to rise next week.

We’ll keep you updated on the forecasts in the coming weeks. 

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