A fresh wave of winter weather hit central Europe on Monday, cutting off communities and causing at least one death, several road accidents and an avalanche in southern Germany.
In Austria, a man shovelling snow fell off a roof and died, and a dozen bus passengers were injured in snow-related accidents.
In the town of Faistenau, near Salzburg, four workers were clearing snow from a roof when they lost their footing and dropped six metres to the ground, according to local police.
One of them, a 47-year-old man, was completely buried by snow.
Although helpers began to dig him out immediately, he died at the site of the accident.
In Austria’s Styria province, a long-distance bus veered off the road amid heavy snowfall and slid 12 metres down a slope. The driver and 12 passengers were injured in the accident near the town of Aich.
In Slovakia, heavy snowfall and strong winds caused several traffic accidents, bringing roads to a standstill and cutting off the electricity supply of thousands of households.
In the north of the country, around 15,000 households in the Liptau and Orava regions were without electricity on Monday, the regional news agency TASR reported.
In the village of Oravska Polhora near the Polish border, a bus collided with a car on a snow-covered mountain road, but the 51 bus passengers, 47 of them children, were unhurt, according to the fire service.
In the Czech Republic, a train running between Prague and Munich collided with a fallen tree near the town of Domazlice, but there were no injuries, the fire service said.
Numerous trees fell under the weight of the snow. In the Ore Mountains, the fire service temporarily halted clearing work because it was considered too risky.
Around 15,000 households were without electricity, and tourists were asked not to travel to higher regions of the western administrative region of Karlovy Vary.
In Germany, a 300-metre-wide avalanche struck a hotel in the southern town of Balderschwang. Police said there were no injuries, though the avalanche did strike with such force that some of the snow made it inside the building.
Access to the town has been cut off since Sunday due to heightened risk of avalanches on the one road leading to the community. About 1,300 people are stranded there.
A number of Austrian ski resorts and communities were also inaccessible by car on Monday. Authorities reported 17,000 people stranded in the Salzburg region alone.
The German weather service forecast that snow would stop either late Monday or early Tuesday, giving the region about 48 hours without new snowfall.
However, there could be more on the horizon for Thursday, with snow accumulation in lower altitudes this time, as well as up in the mountains.
Lower-lying regions in Germany – where the temperatures are lower and the snow accumulation less – are seeing flooding as rivers and streams rise over their banks.
So far, authorities are only reporting some flooded fields and meadows, though some residential areas have been warned to be on the lookout.
“Flood waters are slowly coming,” said one police spokesperson.
German Interior Minister Horst Seehofer went to review the snow removal efforts in person on Monday, promising extra help from federal police, while Chancellor Angela Merkel expressed her recognition for all those helping in the Alps.
Switzerland has also been affected, with multiple regions reporting the highest alert levels for avalanches possible. Road and railroad connections were especially affected in the eastern canton of Grisons.