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Record snowstorm causes traffic chaos

A heavy snowstorm has pummelled the eastern and southern reaches of the Swiss Alps, where close to 80cm on average has fallen in the past 24 hours.

The storm blanketed some areas of the country with as much as two metres of new snow. That's the fastest accumulation the country has seen in 30 years, the Swiss Meteorology Office said on Saturday.

Cantons Graubünden and Ticino have been particularly affected. In eastern Switzerland nearly every mountain pass has been closed, making train travel the only way to reach certain valleys.

Roads have been closed to truck traffic in southern Switzerland, where one driver died early on Saturday after slamming into a snowplough.

Avalanche danger is now "high" for most of Ticino and the southern portions of Graubünden, where the snow depth is as much as 170 per cent of normal for this time of year, according to the Swiss Institute for Snow and Avalanche Research in Davos.

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