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Thaw fails to improve travelling conditions

The thaw in western Switzerland that set in on Monday morning after heavy snowfall during the night has left drivers and pedestrians grumbling.

For cars, the greatest danger was aquaplaning on the wet roads. About 100 accidents were reported across the country, 40 of them in canton Bern.

Most of the accidents were not serious, causing only damage to the bodywork.

Pedestrians had to cope with deep puddles, where drain covers had been blocked by snow, so that the meltwater could not run off. The situation was made worse because snow clearing vehicles had piled the fresh snow up along the edge of the roads, over the drains.

As the result of a warm front, the snowfall limit rose from 500 metres to 2,000 metres in the space of 18 hours in western Switzerland, according to the Swiss weather service, MeteoSwiss.

However, in other parts of Switzerland it continued to snow at low altitude. In the south-eastern canton of Ticino some flights were cancelled at Lugano airport.

Freight traffic was banned from the southern approach road to the Gotthard tunnel and from the Simplon Pass because of snow.

Meanwhile there was misery for rail passengers after a collision between two cars on a railway bridge in Lausanne sent one of them onto the line below. Two people were injured, and the main line between Lausanne and Bern was cut. Passengers travelling to Zurich and Bern from Geneva airport had to be diverted, and many services were cancelled.

swissinfo.ch and agencies


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