Jan. 10 (UPI) -- At least 17 people have died in Europe over the last week, mostly due to avalanches, following winter storms that have dumped many inches of snow.
Experts say the risk of death in avalanches is only increasing with each additional foot of snow the storms produce. Some areas are already at their highest threat level.
An avalanche killed a 16-year-old Australian boy Wednesday while he was skiing with his family in Austria. In neighboring Slovakia, a 37-year-old man was killed by a snow slide in the Mala Fatra Mountains. In Austria, a 62-year-old teacher died after he fell while skiing and was buried in a snowbank.
More heavy snowfall is forecast for the northern Alps in the coming days, as air flow from the north pushes more Artic air into the mountains. Particularly intense snowfall is expected by Sunday and Monday, Severe Weather Europe reported.
More than a foot of new snow is also expected across Switzerland and Austria this weekend. The threat extends into northwest Italy and southeast France, where peak amounts in some areas will surpass 3 feet.
Bracing for more snow and fearing a large avalanche, some parts of Austria have been evacuated.
The storms have also disrupted travel, with traffic crashes throughout Europe. Some motorists were trapped in their vehicles in Germany, and tourists in Austrian alpine villages were cornered by blocked roads.
Numerous train connections and hundreds of flights have also been canceled.
Some ski resorts have closed after reporting as many as 7 feet of snow in higher elevations.
The mountain rescue service and German Alpine Association warned against skiing or hiking in unsafe areas. Officials said avalanche danger in the southern Alps is at Level 4, the second highest alert condition.