After several days of heavy rain and snow caused by storm Burglind, the situation is gradually returning to normal. Almost all roads in canton Valais, which had been blocked due to the high risk of avalanches and mudslides, were set to reopen on Friday evening.
Despite an end to the stormy weather caused by the passage of storm Burglind on Wednesday and Thursday, the avalanche risk remains considerableexternal link (level 3 out of 5) across much of the Alps.
Several mountain villages, notably in the Valais, Bernese Oberland as well as in the southeast and in central Switzerland, had been blocked as roads or rail links were suspended due a high risk of avalanches and mudslides.
The Valais police noted on Friday that landslides and avalanches were “still possible".
At Adelboden in the Bernese Oberland, the men's World Cup Giant Slalom and Slalom races at the weekend will go ahead, despite a landslide damaging and closing the sole road to the Swiss ski resort.
Traffic was moving freely on Friday on the A3 motorway near Mühlerhorn along Walensee Lake, which had been blocked by a landslide on Thursday evening.
Elsewhere, the storm continues to paralyze rail traffic in several parts of the country. The track between Tavannes and Les Reussilles in canton Bern is still interrupted due to storm damage. Rail traffic is still affected between Geneva and Bellegarde in France due to a landslide.
On the Zermatt-Brig line, traffic was interrupted until 5pm on Friday between Täsch and Visp. Between Martigny in canton Valais and Vallorcine in France, the line has been reopened after being blocked by a landslide. Rail traffic, however, remains impossible between Château-d'Oex in canton Vaud and Gstaad in canton Bern due to a landslide and between Zweisimmen and Lenk in canton Bern following the train derailment on Wednesday. The Saanenmöser-Zweisimmen section has meanwhile reopened.
On Friday morning, the Rhaetian Railways in canton Graubünden reopened the line to the Bernina Pass, which had been closed on Thursday because of avalanche dangers.
In canton Vaud, all roads closed due to the bad weather have been reopened and rivers and streams have begun to recede.
Security services had set up flood prevention barriers along the banks of the rivers, Rhine and Aare, in the north of the country. On Friday, the Rhine River started to recede and barriers were taken down at Wallbach in canton Aargau.
In canton Neuchâtel, access to lake shores and river banks is prohibited until further notice due to the high water levels.
The storm has caused material damage worth an estimated CHF60-90 million ($61-92 million). Forestry officials believe that several hundred thousand cubic metres of trees were blown down in the storm. By contrast, Hurricane Lothar in 1999 felled an estimated 13 million cubic metres of trees.
swissinfo.ch with agencies/sb