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TODAY IN AUSTRIA

Today in Austria: A roundup of the latest news on Friday

Gas storage levels filling up, inflation at 10.5 percent, controversy with the Lobau Tunnel and more news from Austria on Friday.

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Inflation on essential food items has risen in Austria. (Photo by JEAN-PIERRE MULLER / AFP)

Gas storage levels to reach 80 percent ‘soon’

Austria’s domestic gas storage systems are filling up, the head of E-Control, the country’s energy regulator, told ZiB. Carola Millgramm said the storage levels should be 80 percent full by October 1st.

This means that industry, as well as households, can count on enough natural gas for the winter.

The situation would have to be re-evaluated if gas deliveries were to be stopped completely. In general, though, Austria is “well prepared for winter”, a representative of the Austrian Energy Ministry told broadcaster ORF.

READ ALSO: UPDATED: How reliant is Austria on Russia for energy

Is this the end of the Lobau Tunnel?

Climate Protection Minister Leonore Gewessler (Greens) wants to bring down the Lobau Tunnel for good: “Just because something was worth considering 20 years ago doesn’t mean it’s still the right decision today”, she said.

The controversial project was created to ease traffic from the outskirts of Vienna (east of the Danube river) to the capital centre. However, the tunnel would go below protected green areas in the 22nd district, and environmentalists alerted to the dangers it could bring to the Lobau region.

Additionally, many people complained that creating more roads for cars was not the best way to deal with traffic – saying the government should focus on giving the population better public transport options instead.

But the project is polarised, with many, including leading party ÖVP, still in favour of it, claiming Vienna urgently needs efficient traffic relief.

READ ALSO: The best spots to recharge on the weekend in Vienna

Inflation estimated at 10.5 percent in September

The inflation rate for September 2022 is expected to be 10.5 percent, according to calculations by Statistics Austria, as part of a flash estimate. Compared to the previous month, consumer prices rose by 1.6 percent.

The inflation rate thus exceeds the values during the oil crises of the 1970s and rises to the highest level since July 1952, when it was 14.1 percent.

The main reason for the rise in consumer prices is substantial increases in household energy, which is also the most important driver of inflation in September. The second most important price driver is fuel prices, which remain at a high level. There were moderate price increases in food and restaurants.

READ ALSO: Reader question: I’ve received my Austrian Klimabonus as a voucher, now what?

Weather

Screenshot from ZAMG

Apart from a few clearings, abundant clouds will prevail and there will be intermittent rain, especially in the south. Still, there will also be some rain in the other regions, Austria’s meteorologic institute ZAMG said.

The snow line rises from 1900 to 2500m.

The wind will blow weakly to moderately from different directions. Daytime highs are between 12 and 17 degrees.

If you have any questions about life in Austria, ideas for articles or news tips for The Local, please get in touch with us at [email protected].

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TODAY IN AUSTRIA

Today in Austria: A roundup of the latest news on Monday

Austrian rail strike to last all day, mild winter ahead, sale of online tickets for Lower Austrian ski resorts starts and more news from Austria on Monday.

Today in Austria: A roundup of the latest news on Monday
  • Austrian rail strike to last all day

Austria’s rail workers with ÖBB started a strike on Monday involving all train traffic nationwide after salary negotiations ended with no deal. 

The movement affects ÖBB trains but also some regional transport, including the S-Bahn system that goes through Vienna. In the Austrian capital, transport operated by Wiener Linien, which includes metros, buses and trams, won’t be affected.

Additionally, cross-border rail traffic and trains from Westbahn will be hurt as ÖBB also operates Austrian train stations.

Due to the all-day strike, there may also be individual train cancellations on Tuesday, November 29th. Information on this can be found in the ÖBB timetable information SCOTTY.

Worker unions have asked for a €400 pay rise as inflation increases in Austria.

READ ALSO: Austrian railway workers set to strike after pay talks fall flat

  • Everything that changes in Austria in December 2022

From public holidays, ski season and Christmas festivities to changes in transport timetable and bonus payments, here are some of the most important changes you need to be aware of in Austria in December.

  • More than 800 hospital beds had to be closed in Vienna

The staff shortages in the hospital sector are becoming more visible. Recently, almost 16 percent of the hospital beds in the Vienna Health Network were closed because there weren’t enough people to attend to them or because of renovations or technical maintenance, the newspaper Der Standard reported. 

In the Austrian capital, there are currently 900 vacancies in nursing and 91 vacancies for doctors in the public system.

As of 22 November, 820 hospital beds were blocked in the Vienna Health Association (Wigev), as the municipal hospital operator stated in response to an enquiry from the newspaper. However, the number of blocked beds could still increase as the flu season peaks and more staff has to go on sick leave.

READ ALSO: EXPLAINED: What is Austria’s controversial project to recruit nursing staff from Vietnam?

  • Mild winter hurts the chances of a white Christmas

Soon 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. 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. It is also unlikely that an extremely cold winter is imminent..

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

  • Online tickets for ski resorts sale start on Thursday

Daily and multi-day tickets can be purchased online for ecoplus Alpin GmbH ski resorts in Lower Austria from Thursday. The start of the season in the province is scheduled for 8 December.

“The principle is well known: The earlier you book, the cheaper it is. This early booking discount also applies at the weekends,” Tourism Provincial Councillor Jochen Danninger (ÖVP) stated in a press release.

He added: “We want to increase the occupancy rate over the entire winter season. There will be offers for adult day tickets starting at just €29”.

Tickets for Hochkar Bergbahnen, Ötscherliften, Annaberger Liften and Erlebnisalm Mönichkirchen can be purchased at www.freundederberge.at.

READ ALSO: How to save money and still go skiing in Austria

  • Weather

Screenshot from ZAMG

Today there will be mostly cloudy skies in the north, east and southeast with persistent fog, according to Austria’s meteorologic institute ZAMG. 

In the west, there will be some local rain. The snow line will fluctuate between 800 and 1300m above sea level. The wind will be light to moderate, in the eastern lowlands increasingly brisk from southeast to east. Daytime highs are between 1C and 9C, with the highest temperatures in the west.

If you have any questions about life in Austria, ideas for articles or news tips for The Local, please get in touch with us at [email protected].

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