Lawinenwinter 1999 - Erfahrungen und Konsequenzen in den Alpen, Tagung - 18.-20.06.2009, Galtür
Avalanche Winter 1999 – Experiences and Consequences in the Alps, Conference - June 18-20, 2009, Galtür, Austria

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Heft 162, Juni 2009, 73. Jahrgang

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Rousselot Marie


The avalanche of February 9, 1999 in Montroc, Chamonix Valley, France: a numerical investigation of the French avalanche hazard estimation procedure

In Europe, the last extreme avalanche winter dates from 1999, when huge avalanches affected the northern part of the Alps. In France, several large avalanches were observed in early February in the massif of Mont-Blanc. On the 9th of February, a huge avalanche swept away 23 chalets and killed dozen people in the village of Montroc, close to Chamonix. This catastrophic event raised several questions for the public about the reliability of the mitigation policies adopted by the local authorities. The link between mitigation policies and forecast of natural hazards related to gravitary risks in the Alps have been studied in the European FP6-IRASMOS project. Within this framework, we undertook an evaluation of the avalanche hazard estimated by the SAFRAN-CROCUSMEPRA (SCM) numerical chain of Météo-France, run on the extreme events of February 1999 in the Chamonix region. Sensitivity tests of the avalanche hazard estimation to various weather and snow factors were performed and possible improvements of the avalanche hazard description were explored.

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Rousselot Marie
Laboratoire de Glaciologie et de Géophysique de l’Environnement
54 rue Molière
St Martin d’Hères