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Fatal avalanches in Austrian Alps

Fatal avalanches in Austrian Alps
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The ski area of Hochkar in Austria is completely snowed in as hundreds of soldiers and firemen head to dig it out.

Some 120 soldiers and 150 fire crew are digging out the town which was evacuated a week ago.

The road up was dangerous with the avalanche danger level at five.

Five of the 500 residents volunteered to stay behind, one of them a hotel owner who says it's been snowing for a week.

Innkeeper Markus Esletzbichler voiced his concern about having to be dug out of the building after the snowfall. "We`re on the ground floor but on the second story it actually looks pretty much the same"

Over the weekend three men were killed in an avalanche near the ski resort of Lech am Arlberg.

The search for a fourth person, declared as missing, had to be halted due to the ongoing avalanche risk. The group came from southern Germany and were reported missing by one of their wives on Saturday night. The three victims bring the number of weather-related deaths in parts of Europe this month to at least 24.

Austria, Southern Germany and parts of the French Alps have all seen record snowfall, and there is more forecast

WATCH: Stuart Macdonald is a Mountain guide who lives in Chamonix in the French Alps and teaches avalanche awareness courses.

He says the recent amount of snowfall has been unusual.