Melting ice in Greenland and Antarctica get far more attention, but mountain glaciers around the world — in the Rockies, the Andes, the Himalayas and other ranges — are melting as well as the planet heats up. All told, say climate modelers, the water they release could contribute about a foot’s worth of the 3 to 6 feet of sea level rise projectedMore
Parts of the French Alps have been hurting for snow at the start of winter. But after a week of heavy snowfall, it appears to have been too much of a good thing for some ski resorts and mountain towns with high avalanche danger across the region.
Spectacular video of one avalanche shows the power of what happens when lots of snow meets steep slopes. A huge white cloud of snow descended on Bessans, a small hamlet in the Savoie province of France earlier this week. Despite the immensity of the avalanche, no injuries or fatalities were reported.
Ski areas in the region reported up to 74 inches of snow over the past 7 days, creating a heavy snowload on the Alps' steep slopes. That's a recipe for instability and the French meteorological service listed avalance danger in the region as high.
Other parts of the Alps have faced similarly high risks this week. A skier-triggered avalance on a closed run at Les Deux Alpes ski area located about 100 miles southwest of Bessans killed three on Wednesday. More snow is in the forecast for the region this weekend.