Let there be no doubt about the terrifying power of snow.
Residents in Italy's South Tyrol region, located just south of the Austrian border, watched in horror late last week as an avalanche nearly swallowed several houses in the area. The slide was captured on video by Thomas Ennemoser, a farmer in the small Italian Alps village of Pill, who witnessed the devastation from a safe distance across the valley.
A copy of Ennemoser's video, which was uploaded to YouTube, opens with a shot of the slide itself, barreling rapidly downhill. The sheer quantity of snow involved in the avalanche isn't apparent until nearly three minutes in, when the slide meets a group of pine trees. The trees do nothing to slow the progress and instead snap, adding yet more debris to the unstoppable flow.
From there, the slide continues down a gully, nearly swallowing two multi-story buildings as it pushes down a road.
Fortunately, the residents escaped before the avalanche hit. The Mirror reported 25 locals were evacuated by helicopter and car.
Watch the avalanche, above. (Jump to 2:40 to skip the beginning of the slide.)