Avalanche warnings are in effect in mountainous regions of Switzerland and Liechtenstein following heavy snow in the region in recent days. On Monday, January 22, the Davos-based WSL Institute for Snow and Avalanche Research SLF announced a Level 5 avalanche warning ("very large;" the highest level on the European Avalanche Warning scale) for parts of Switzerland's Valais canton and the northern Alpine ridge region of the country, indicating that traffic routes and settlements in affected areas may be in acute danger of avalanches; elevations above 2000 m (6562 ft) are considered to be at particularly high risk. Alpine regions of Liechtenstein are also reportedly under avalanche warnings.
Additional snowfall of 20-40 cm (7.8-15.7 in) are possible in the affected areas through the evening of Tuesday, January 23. Avalanches and consequent transportation disruptions are possible in the affected areas of Switzerland and Liechtenstein in the coming days.
As of 18:00 (local time) on January 22, heavy snowfall has resulted in accumulations of roughly 100 cm (39 in) in Valais, the northern slopes of the Alps, and northern Graubünden since January 20; up to 150 cm (59 in) of snow have fallen in the Visp valleys and Glarus Alps since January 20.
On January 21, Swiss authorities said that significant snowfall resulted in the temporary suspension of all road and rail travel to the Zermatt area in Valais canton due to the high avalanche risk - the second time that access to the resort had been suspended in 2018. Emergency shuttle helicopters were organized to transport some 9000 people staying at the resort.
Individuals present in affected areas are advised to monitor local weather report and updates published on the SLF website, confirm travel reservations, and adhere to all instructions issued by the local authorities (e.g. evacuation or shelter-in-place orders).
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