Spring Storms Batter Europe One Dead in 60-Car Pileup in Austria

Central Europe got a parting shot from winter this week as a massive storm system dumped snow on the Netherlands and the Alps and created huge waves off the Italian coast. One person died in a 60-car pileup on an Austrian highway.

The first days of spring in Europe felt more like winter this year as snow, ice and freezing temperatures caused countless auto accidents in central Europe, including a 60-vehicle pileup in Austria.

One person was killed and around 30 were injured, five of them seriously, in the massive accident Tuesday morning on a highway between Vienna and Salzburg. The pileup was apparently caused by a coach bus.

Because of the continuing storm, rescue helicopters and ambulances struggled to reach the crash site between the towns of Seewalchen and St. Georgen, northeast of Salzburg. Many of the injured needed to be cut free from the wreckage.

The vicious spring storm also caused countless accidents on the snow-covered roads of neighboring Switzerland. Almost 70 centimeters (28 inches) of snow fell there on Easter Sunday, and snowdrifts in some places reached four meters (13 feet) deep.

Stranded in Italy, Stuck in the Netherlands

The same winter storm system stranded hundreds of tourists on the Aeolian Islands off the coast of Sicily, as high winds tore off roofs and knocked signs into roadways.

Ferry service to the nearby islands of Pantelleria and Lampedusa has been suspended for two days, as five-meter waves pounded the Calabrian coast.

In the Netherlands, the storm caused a total of 836 kilometers (519 miles) of traffic jams, according to the Dutch automobile club ANWB. Delays were also common at Schiphol Airport near Amsterdam, as snow needed to be cleared continuously from runways.

A strong stormfront also moved through Macedonia on Monday. One person was killed there and many more were injured as winds of up to 130 kilometers per hour (81 miles per hour) knocked down trees and telephone poles, and damaged many homes and cars.

The storm was strongest in the southwest region of the country, where a man was struck and killed by a billboard dislodged in high winds.

In Germany, wintry weather continued to dump snow on mountainous regions near the Alps on Tuesday, and snow was also falling in scattered places across the north of the country. Snow was forecasted to continue this week in northern and eastern Germany.



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