Europe

Heavy snow blankets West Austria region of Vorarlberg

A road being closed in western Austria
Image caption The Vorarlberg area has seen up to three metres of snow since Thursday

Heavy snow blocked roads and rail services to Austria's western province of Vorarlberg for hours on Monday.

Officials said that up to 60cm (23in) snow had fallen overnight into Monday and the risk of avalanches was high, assessed at four on a scale of five.

Although road links were re-established, Austrian rail service OeBB said the Arlberg train route was closed.

Several ski resorts including Lech and Zuers have been cut off.

Emergency workers were busy on Monday trying to clear routes to isolated areas. Although Bregenzer Wald was reported to be cut off, roads into Montafon were said to have been cleared.

Since Thursday, the Vorarlberg region has seen two to three metres (6-10ft) of snow.

The authorities have been blasting some areas of heavy snow to prevent avalanches from becoming too large.

Snow has also blocked off roads in the Salzburg region, and rail services in the Innsbruck area have been affected.

Rescue teams resumed a search on Monday for a 15-year-old skier missing from a resort south-west of Innsbruck since Saturday, Austrian media said.

Thousands of tourists and residents were snowed in at resorts on the Arlberg mountain on Friday and a major east-west railway line in Tirol province was closed over the weekend.

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