Switzerland takes the brunt of Saturday’s mini-Snowmageddon but pretty bad in France and Italy too.
Also, conspiracy theories smouldering after Polish President’s car swerves off motorway. Poland passengers sign codes of conduct on Sweden ferries. Police scrabble for answers on Stockholm indie band tragedy.
LIVE: SNOWMAGEDDON AVERTED, ALMOST
Switzerland epicentre of Saturday snow storm.
There was not quite the snowmageddon predicted but several areas were hit by heavy snow overnight Friday-Saturday.
Worst affected was the high ground across south eastern France to North West Italy and up into the Swiss Alps.
The A26 and A7 autostradas between Milan and Genoa were strictly no-go first thing.
Meanwhile, the A2 up from Lugano almost to Altdorf via the Gotthard Tunnel in Switzerland continued to see very difficult driving conditions all day despite repeated attempts to clear the roads.
Truck driver @YouareParsons was parked up by the authorities at Gotthard. Even as traffic resumed in Italy after lunch, even heavier snow fell in southern Switzerland.
Trucks were eventually allowed to leave the A2 late afternoon but stayed parked on the A13 Chur-Bellinzona until Sunday morning.
Snow chains and/or snow tyres were needed to reach ski resorts, especially in the southern French Alps.
Access to Isola 2000 was restored mid-morning after an avalanche overnight but conditions stayed almost impossible on Col de Montegenevre near Briancon.
Overall however, the major routes in France held up.
Paris missed out entirely. Lower speed limits and restrictions on trucks were called off first thing without being used.
The region to the north of Ile de France – A16, A29 Amiens-Abbeville – saw some snow but it was efficiently cleared by mid-morning.
Drivers on the A40 Macon-Geneva were delayed briefly around trouble spot Nantua in the morning and afternoon but nothing like the delays seen during last year’s Black + White Saturday.
The Austrian Alps were very quiet, except for more traffic than expected on B179 Fernpass. Snow started to fall in the west in the afternoon, particularly on the S16 Bregenz-Innsbruck, but the storm had clearly blown out as it moved east.
Daylight finished with a smattering in south east Germany, but heavier snow on the A22 Brennero between Bolzano and Trento.
In the evening the Mont Blanc Tunnel was closed for a time after several instances of vehicles across the approach roads but was soon reopened, albeit with warnings about potential delays through the night.
roundup: POLAND. A full investigation is underway after the President’s official car swerved off the A4 motorway on Friday following an apparent blow out reports TheNews.pl. Andrzej Duda’s BMW 7-series armoured limo was reportedly equipped with BMW’s staple run-flat tyres which should allow the driver to retain control in such circumstances. No-one was injured. Incidents like this are very sensitive after the loss of a former president in a, some-still-say, murky air crash in Russia in 2010. Duda’s now governing party has recently reopened the investigation into the air crash, and also championed highly controversial new restrictions on state media. Meanwhile, Polish passengers on Stena Line’s Sweden-bound ferries are now being asked to sign ‘codes of conduct’ reports The Local Sweden. ‘Poles are not used to travelling by boat and are not always informed about the safety rules that they have to abide to on a ferry. That is why we want to remind this group in particular,’ said a spokesperson. That’s hilarious – or especially worrying – considering how rowdy, in our experience, some homeward Swedes can be on-board. SWEDEN. Police are still at a loss to explain the crash which claimed the lives of five men from indie band Viola Beach reports Radio Sweden. The car drove past two traffic booms, and through a gap in the open drawbridge, before falling eighty feet into a canal early on 13 February. Tests for alcohol and drugs on the still unnamed driver came back negative. It would seem investigators’ final hope are possible leads gleaned from the ‘black box’ data recorder from band’s rental Nissan Qashqai, though they are yet to hear back from the manufacturer.