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20 years of fighting the white death

Heavy snowfalls in recent days have prompted the authorities to issue the highest level of avalanche risk warning in the Swiss mountains. Similar dangerous levels were reached in the winter of 1999. What has changed in avalanche protection since then? (SRF, swissinfo.ch)

This content was published on January 16, 2019 - 09:27

Because of the heavy snowfalls over the weekend, the Institute for Snow and Avalanche Research (SLF)External link in Davos resorted to the seldom issued "level 5" warning of avalanche risk in some parts of the country. 

Affected were the eastern areas of the Bernese Oberland, central Switzerland, the Glarus region and large parts of the southeast. 

On Tuesday, the SLF expected slightly better conditions thanks to less snowfall. The avalanche dangerExternal link, however, remains at level 4, the second highest and applies to practically the entire Alpine area.

The conditions rekindle memories of the winter of 1999, when over a dozen people were killed by avalanches. At the time, in just over a month, the Alps saw over five metres of snow and Switzerland was hit by 1,200 avalanches with some devastating consequences.

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