The rain in Spain stays mainly in the plain!

  15.11.2023 Local News, OUTDOOR - HIKING - BIKING, Local News, NewsUpdate

Contrary to Professor Henry Higgins' famous claim, the rain in Spain is not the only noteworthy precipitation. On Tuesday, Saanenland experienced a substantial downpour, challenging the region with flooding and other aftermaths.

While the rain lessened in intensity on Wednesday, the lower temperatures caused a shift from rain to snow at higher elevations. By midweek, water levels had decreased significantly, but the extensive and persistent rainfall had already taken its toll. The Saanen Regional Management Organisation (RFO) reported flooding in Lauenen and Gsteig municipalities, fortunately without any reported injuries.

The flooding was attributed not only to the rainfall but also to the melting snow resulting from warmer temperatures. Throughout Tuesday, the Saane, Turpachbach, Louwibach, and other streams in the region breached their banks at various points. The peak water levels were recorded around 8 p.m. and persisted for several hours before a gradual decline starting at 11 p.m. By Wednesday morning, the situation had largely stabilized.

Saanen, especially the Grund area between the fish farm and Grundsagi, and Lauenen, particularly in Enge and around the Rohr area, were significantly affected. The Gsteig-Col du Pillon road was closed, as confirmed by the Bern cantonal police. Among the properties damaged were Ultima Gstaad and Alpenland Lauenen hotels. Despite prompt responses, the hotels' basement floors succumbed to flooding. Fortunately, there were no guests at Hotel Alpenland, while the Hotel Ultima had to evacuate eight individuals after cutting off power throughout the building.

A landslide occurred on the main road between Feutersoey and Gsteig, burying the carriageway in the Schüdele area. A temporary diversion via Saali was established, with ongoing efforts to clear the debris. Gsteig's main road was also closed due to flooding near the village of Feutersoey, as reported by the local fire brigade.

In a separate incident, the Sanetsch reservoir overflowed on Tuesday evening, leading to precautionary evacuations in Feutersoey. Fortunately, the anticipated extreme rise in surrounding streams and rivers did not materialize. While Lake Arnen's water level elevated to level 2 out of five danger levels, it poses no immediate concern, according to the municipality of Gsteig.

Based on AvS


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