Measuring network avalanche warning service
System to gather meteorological data and snow levels
The avalanche warning service (LWD) in Austria is responsible to gather basic meteorological data as well as the snow depths for the assessment of the snow and avalanche situation in the mountains. The data are centrally administered and analysed. Diverse meteorological information as well as avalanche alert levels is given out for the ski areas, the road operators at mountain passes as well as for the wide public. Furthermore a sensitisation of the winter sportsmen should be reached, to prevent drastic avalanche accidents caused by themselves.
To fulfil the task and to correctly assess the actual snow and weather situation any time, the LWD has to build up and operate a network of measurement stations. In the federal state of Vorarlberg for example there are up to now roughly 30 automatic weather stations (AWS) and further observing stations established. Also in all other federal states as well as for the LWD in Bayern (D) or South Tyrol (I) the systems of SOMMER are installed. Those gather meteorological parameters such as air temperature, humidity, precipitation, snow depth or wind speed and wind direction.
Diverse measurement data are recorded by the weather stations and transferred to a central data collection. Trained personnel of the avalanche warning service combine the records of the meteorological measuring network with the information of taken snow profiles and reports to the general weather situation for the judgement of the local situation. They analyse and interpret all the data. The avalanche warning service publishes daily avalanche situation reports with judgement of the avalanche risk level in diverse areas of the federal state. This reports are accessible via internet. With that, possible avalanches can be predicted and if necessary big snow amounts can be blast off before avalanches are damaging and harmful.