Friday, 24. May 2013 - 04:05
01. 05. 12. - 10:00
Austria continued experiencing a heatwave this week but temperatures that included the hottest on record in the capital Vienna failed to make an impact on snowfields where workers were struggling to clear high Alpine roads. On Austria's most famous mountaintop route – the 'High Alpine Road' which crosses over the country's tallest mountain – the 3,798m Grossglockner - road clearer's were working overtime to dig up to 8m of snow out of the way. Manager Dr. Johannes Horl said: "We even had to bring one of our retired vintage ploughs back in to help tackle the snow. Our Wallack rotary plough is over 60 years old but it really is still unbeatable when it comes to the really deep snow." Plans to build the High Alpine Road were ridiculed when it was first suggested in 1924 when they were less than 150,000 vehicles in the whole of Austria, Germany and Italy. But in the end it went ahead and provided jobs to local people and from the first year of being open was a fantastic success with tens of thousands of tourists flocking to enjoy the panoramic views - that includes the Pasterze Glacier and of course the country's highest mountain itself. Heavy snowfalls mean that the Grossglockner High Alpine Road is normally closed for the winter and only opens from the beginning of May to the end of October- an opening that this year was under threat because of the massive amounts of snow that fell over the winter. However managers have now confirmed that the two snowploughs working from either side have met over the weekend and traffic will be able to flow over the May Day bank holiday – providing they are not put off by the huge amounts of snow towering either side of the road. In the Austrian capital Vienna the city notched up the hottest April on record as temperatures reached 29.4°C. The previous hottest day in Vienna had been in 1968 on 24 April when the thermometer measured 28.8°C. The hottest place in the country was Waidhofen an der Ybbs in Lower Austria which notched up a temperature of 32°C.
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