A pioneering program to detect early signs of avalanches using radar has launched in the Swiss Alps vacation destination of Zermatt. The new system is the first of its kind and is designed to make response times for road closures much shorter. Once an avalanche risk is detected, roads can be closed remotely within seconds by activating barriers and traffic lights.
Avalanches can be detected up to an elevation of around 2400m according to THIS article from matterhornchalets.com. The technology used is similar to that used to track speeding vehicles. Once a the radar picks up the tell tail signature of an avalanche the roads are automatically closed until the danger can be assessed.
Time will tell how effective the new system is but if it improves safety on Swiss roads, it is reasonable to expect to see similar programs in America in years to come.
[cover image from www.swissinfo.ch]