Record number of winter avalanche blasts in Switzerland: report

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The winter season has already seen a record number of dynamite-triggered avalanches in the Swiss Alps, media in Switzerland reported Monday.

For safety’s sake, Swiss ski resort and security authorities have set off thousands of avalanches this winter.

In doing so they blew up 120 metric tonnes of explosives so far, the newspaper NZZ am Sonntag reported. In a normal winter, 80-120 tonnes would be sufficient for the whole season.

Since intense snowfall last weekend, which caused chaos in many Swiss resorts, there have been about 5,000 explosions around Switzerland to help clear the surplus of the white stuff.

Typically, helicopters drop the dynamite onto the areas where snow levels are precarious, resulting in morning quiet pierced by occasional booms in seemingly tranquil areas.

Avalanche risk due to heavy snowfall has meant that road and rail access to the ski resort of Zermatt remains cut off for most of last week.

The resorts of Saas-Fee and Andermatt had also been snowed in, while in Davos, some residents were asked to evacuate their homes.

Separately, World Radio Switzerland (WRS) reported that despite the heavy snow in the mountain resorts, this month is due to go down in history as one of the warmest Januarys on record.
Spring flowers have been spotted flowering around Lake Geneva and pollen counts are high in Sankt Gallen, said WRS.

In Geneva and Lucerne, the temperatures are more than a degree above previous records, and 4.5 degrees centigrade higher than the long-term average.

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