Austria hit with heavy snow, flooding and mudslides

KONFRONTASI-Parts of Austria have been dealing with masses of snow, the threat of avalanches and flooding by swelling rivers and lakes.

Firefighters rescued two women buried after a mudslide in Bad Gastein, south of Salzburg, destroyed two homes overnight on Sunday, according to the Austria Presse Agentur (APA) news agency. The women were taken to hospital for their injuries.

In southern Austria, a mudslide killed an 80-year-old man when it hit his home on Monday in Bad Kleinkirchheim. The house was destroyed, Mayor Matthias Krenn told APA.

To the east in Gurktal, in the Carinthia region, the Gurk River rose quickly and threatened residents in 15 buildings close by, leading to a mass evacuation led by local firefighters.

Meanwhile, several train lines were interrupted and about 3,300 houses were without power on Monday in East Tyrol and Carinthia.

Schools were also closed on Monday in East Tyrol because of the threat of avalanches.

More than 30 people were evacuated from their homes in the eastern state of Styria because of the threat of mudslides, according to German news agency, Deutsche Welle.

The widespread heavy snow cut off dozens of villages across southern Austria, with helicopters scouting the nearby mountains for possible avalanches.

Throughout Tuesday and Wednesday, the next weather system will bring another blast of winter across the mountains, with more rain at lower elevations. The risk of flooding and avalanches in the mountains remains high.[MR/AJE]