- Associated Press - Tuesday, January 23, 2018

BERLIN (AP) - The Latest on winter weather in Europe (all times local):

8:55 p.m.

Italian authorities say about 150 people were ferried by helicopter from a high valley in northern Italy because of severe avalanche risks.

The evacuees included 75 guests and workers at a four-star mountainside hotel located in an area near the Austrian border where an avalanche hit overnight.

The avalanche didn’t strike the hotel, but damaged an outbuilding at a farm. Another avalanche nearby destroyed the second floor of a family home. No injuries were reported.

The avalanche danger in the Vallelunga area of the high Venosta Valley has been put at the risk scale’s highest level after a record snowfall in recent days. The area where the four-star hotel and other tourist sites were evacuated has been completely cut off by the snow.

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6:20 p.m.

French officials say that roads and ski slopes have reopened in the Chamonix ski resort on Mont Blanc and confinement orders have been lifted as an exceptional avalanche risk recedes.

Road and resort closures that began Monday isolated several ski stations in the Alps.

The Chamonix city website said most roads gradually reopened Tuesday as well as the Montets rail and road tunnel. Mayor Eric Fournier said on BFM television that the situation “should be getting back to normal.”

Regional authorities also ended evacuation measures and confinement orders in most neighborhoods, after hundreds of people were blocked in their homes because of the avalanche danger.

Weeks of snow followed by rain have left the ground cover heavy and unstable.

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3:20 p.m.

The U.N. weather agency says the Alps are seeing “remarkable snow quantities” even for this part of winter.

A spokeswoman for the World Meteorological Organization says snow levels are starkly different from the previous year, when there was a drought in the mountain range.

Clare Nullis told reporters in Geneva on Tuesday that “this year we have more snow than we know what to do with” and this has resulted in elevated risk of avalanches.

Nullis said the extreme weather was partly the result of a change in the jet stream, which has been carrying successive storms to western Europe in recent weeks.

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11:30 a.m.

The Chamonix ski resort at the base of Mont Blanc has closed due to what officials said was the highest avalanche risk.

The Chamonix city website and the regional government said Tuesday the Montets rail and road tunnel and other major roads in the area have been shut down.

The closures that began Monday have isolated several ski stations in the French Alps.

Weeks of snow followed by rain have left the ground cover heavy and unstable.

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10.50 a.m.

The news agency ANSA says some 75 tourists and residents are being evacuated after an avalanche near a hotel in the South Tyrol region of northern Italy.

ANSA reported Tuesday that the landslide hit near the Langtauferer Hof hotel in the high Venosta Valley overnight, also coming close to a farm where children are taught about agriculture.

According to ANSA, the tourists and residents were being evacuated by helicopter. The situation was under control and the evacuees calm.

There was no immediate word on damage, but an open area in front of the hotel was being used as a helicopter landing port.

Heavy snow in northern Italy has created dangerous conditions and higher alerts for avalanches.

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9:40 a.m.

Landslides and heavy snowfall across the Alps have prompted the closure of several rail and road links, including a highway leading to Switzerland’s Gotthard tunnel toward Italy.

Swiss public broadcaster SRF reported that the A2 highway near Gurtnellen was hit by an avalanche and will remain closed in both directions until at least midday Tuesday.

The Swiss ski resorts of Zermatt, Andermatt and Saas-Fee are cut off from the outside world due to the risk of avalanches.

Heavy snowfall has also hampered the arrival of participants at the annual World Economic Forum in the Swiss town of Davos.

Schools in some cutoff villages in Austria’s western state of Tyrol remained closed Tuesday, according to Austrian broadcaster ORF.


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