Winter of Terror

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Clearing the road from Zernez to Brail
Ruined hamlet Lü Daint in the Val Müstair

The Winter of Terror was the three-month period during the winter of 1950–1951[1] when an unprecedented number of avalanches took place in the Alps, Austria–Switzerland border[2]. The series of 649 avalanches killed over 265 people and caused large amounts of damage to residential and other human-made structures[3].

Damage and casualties[edit]

Austria suffered most damage and loss of human life with 135 killed and many villages destroyed.[4] Thousands of acres of economically valuable forest in both Austria and Switzerland, were also damaged during the period.[2]

The Valais canton of Switzerland suffered 92 human deaths, approximately 500 cattle deaths, and destruction of 900 human-made structures. As in Austria, economically important forests were also damaged during the period.[5]

The Swiss town of Andermatt in the Adula Alps was hit by six avalanches within a 60-minute period, resulting in 13 human deaths.[6]

Causes[edit]

This period is thought to be a result of atypical weather conditions in the Alps: high precipitation due to the meeting of an Atlantic warm front with a polar cold front resulted in 3–4.5 metres of snow being deposited in a two- to three-day period. More than 600 buildings were destroyed and over 40,000 people were buried under snow.[5]

See also[edit]

Avalanche-winter year 1951 (german language)

References[edit]

  1. ^ Williams, Florence (4 December 2005). "Look Out Below". The New York Times. 
  2. ^ a b "Deadliest Avalanches In History". WorldAtlas. Retrieved 2018-04-20. 
  3. ^ "Winter of Terror (1950-51): 259 Avalanche Deaths in the Alps.
    In the winter of 1950-51, a previously unrecorded number of avalanches rocked the Swiss-Austrian Alps, killing over 265 people in the span of three months.
    Coined the "Winter of Terror", this series of 649 avalanches destroyed over 900 buildings and thousands of acres of forests.
    This period is thought to be a result of atypical weather conditions in the Alps: high precipitation due to the meeting of an Atlantic warm front, with a polar cold front resulted in 10-15 ft of snowfall in a two-to-three-day period.
    Over 40,000 people were buried under avalanche snow over the 1950-51 season.
    Austria suffered both the most damage and greatest number of deaths, with 135 killed and many villages destroyed.
    The Valais canton of Switzerland had 92 human deaths, approximately 500 cattle deaths, and destruction of 900 human-made structures.
    Avalanches were so common, the Swiss town of Andermatt suffered six avalanches in just one hour, killing 13 people.
    in
    snowbrains.com/winter-terror-1950-51-259-avalanche-deaths-alps/
    from google (winter of terror 649 avalanche) result 2"
    .
     
  4. ^ Rapp, Irene (12 December 2010). "180.000 Daten für mehr Sicherheit". TT.com (in German). Innsbruck, Austria: New Media Online GmbH. Retrieved 2011-01-04. 
  5. ^ a b Tufty, B. (1978) 1001 Questions Answered about Earthquakes, Floods, Avalanches and Other Natural Disasters, Courier Dover, p133, ISBN 0-486-23646-3
  6. ^ "Force of Nature - Death in the Alps". BBC Corp. Retrieved 2008-03-27.