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Alps face highest-possible avalanche risk
Wednesday, 14 January 2004
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Ski resorts in the France are operating under the threat of the highest-possible avalanche warnings after heavy snow across the Alpine region.

Following the deaths of three skiers in the resorts of Val d’Isere and Tignes at the weekend – all of them killed by avalanches – the French meteorological office has upgraded its avalanche warnings to category five, the highest possible.
According to The Independent newspaper, more than one and a half metres of snow have fallen in some areas in the last week, with warm air temperatures and high winds making the threat worse. The newspaper quotes avalanche experts who say the threat is now as bad as at any time since 1999, when 12 people were killed in an avalanche in the French resort of Chamonix.

The extreme weather conditions have also forced police to call off a search for a British man who disappeared after going off-piste in Chamonix. The avalanche risk was category four at the time the man went missing on Sunday; skiers had specifically been warned not to leave the resort’s ski trails.

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