Thousands of homes in Austria left without power after snowstorms

The Local
The Local - [email protected] • 24 Jan, 2023 Updated Tue 24 Jan 2023 11:51 CEST
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Pictured: Snow in Styria (Photo by Thomas Galler on Unsplash)

Heavy snowfall in the south of Austria led to numerous power outages overnight with several roads still closed to traffic on Tuesday morning.

The heavy snowfall in the south of Austria led to malfunctions at almost 190 transformer stations in western Styria during the night on Tuesday. About 4,000 households were without power Tuesday morning, according to Urs Harnik-Lauris, spokesman for Energie Steiermark. 

Additionally, 5,000 households were affected in Lower and Central Carinthia said the provincial energy supplier Kelag. 

In Carinthia, the snowfall had subsided during the night, but still, a few centimetres of snow were added in places Tuesday morning, ORF reported. As a result, schools in the entire district of Völkermarkt and the municipalities of Lavamünd and Preitenegg (district of Wolfsberg) remained closed on Tuesday since the way to school was sometimes simply too dangerous, the authorities said. 

READ ALSO: Energy crisis: What to do in case of a power outage in Austria

About 2,100 firefighters have been on duty in Carinthia since Monday because of the heavy snowfall. In total, there were 570 operations, mainly due to fallen trees and stuck cars and trucks. In the district of Völkermarkt alone, there were 160 operations.

 

Styria also heavily affected

The snow continued to fall in southern and western Styria on Tuesday.

Since Monday, it has snowed continuously at higher altitudes.

The situation in west Styria came to a head early on Tuesday morning when countless trees could no longer withstand the weight of the snow and fell, damaging numerous power lines.

READ ALSO: What is Austria’s official emergency-warning phone app and do I need it?

More than 4,000 households were without power on Tuesday morning, said Urs Harnik-Lauris of Energie Steiermark: "The situation has worsened significantly. All parts of western Styria are affected." 

Temperatures dropped significantly in the last few hours, he added.

"Rain has turned into heavy snow, causing trees to fall. At the moment, the centre of damage has moved from Carinthia to western Styria", according to Harnik-Lauris.

READ ALSO: Who to call and what to say in an emergency in Austria

Weather forecast

On Tuesday it was forecast to rain in the south and the centre of the country until well into the afternoon, according to Austria's meteorologic institute ZAMG. 

The snow line - above which rain turns to snow was forecast to be between 600m and 900m altitude. 

Forecasters did not predict any snowfall for the region on Wednesday with parts of Carinthia set to see some sun. 

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The Local 2023/01/24 11:51

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