Heavy snow and avalanche risk traps thousands
UPDATE: Trains to Zermatt have started running on the Matterhorn-Gotthard Bahn. First service at 11.15.
More than 13,000 people are trapped in the mountain resort of Zermatt as high avalanche alerts has led to authorities to close road and rail links to the town.
Roads were closed for most of yesterday, but the crises hit at 5.30 yesterday afternoon when the trains linking Zermatt were also suspended.
People are free to walk about the town and locals say there is enough food – but there are worries about power cuts.
There is a helicopter service available in case of emergencies.
Hoteliers say they will be sympathetic to any guests who may find themselves financially strapped due to their extended say.
Insurers say travel insurance should cover extra nights in a hotel due to the snow risk.
The problems are not confined to Zermatt. Heavy snow across the Upper Valais is also causing road and train line closures.
In the Simplon area, more than 2 meters of snow fell in 24 hours. Several villages are cut off in the Saas valley.
It’s the biggest snow fall the region has seen for the past nine years. The situation should improve during the course of today and tomorrow and avalanche alerts are set to be lowered. But more snow is forecast for the weekend.
It’s not just the snow. The warm foehn wind caused more rain on the lower slopes which has triggered some mud slides. Houses were evacuated near Visp as the mud approached.