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Some ski lifts at Obergurgl are closed due to avalanche warnings

Areas of Austria on the highest avalanche alerts

Parts of Southern Austria have been put on the highest avalanche warning after a large snowstorm over the weekend brought some of the heaviest snow for 15 years.

Authorities have warned against any off-piste or back country skiing and many resorts are on Level 4 or Level 5 avalanche alerts, the highest alert level where avalanches could occur even on gentle slopes.

Large areas of popular resorts, such as Obergurgl, have had to closed.

Some regions have seen 1.5m of snowfall in just 24 hours, resulting in road, rail and air travel problems and authorities putting the military on standby.

Two people died on Friday as a result of the snowy conditions: a 53-year-old snowplough driver who was trying to clear the snow and a 38-year-old who was swept away in a river.

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