Snow and ice cause traffic mayhem

Snow and ice cause traffic mayhem
Photo: DPA
Snow and black ice caused numerous accidents across Germany overnight and early Monday morning, but sunshine is expected to break through the clouds by afternoon.

Several motorways were closed during the night due to accidents, but most were without bodily harm. Meanwhile trains and flights were delayed due to the up to 15 centimetres of snow that began falling on Sunday.

Snow ploughs were out early on Monday in the states of Saxony, Saxony-Anhalt and Thuringia where the heaviest snowfall was reported. Some 31 accidents were reported on the A9 motorway stretch in Saxony-Anhalt, and the states of Lower Saxony and Hesse reported dangerously icy streets.

The Düsseldorf airport was forced to close completely when heavy snowfall overwhelmed clean up crews, spokesperson Christian Witt told news agency DPA. Incoming planes were rerouted to other airports and some 48 flights were affected in the early morning hours.

Brandenburg, the state surrounding Berlin, reported 34 auto accidents between midnight and 6 am on Monday, which caused officials to close the A24 motorway between Hamburg and Berlin for several hours.

Near Hannover the A2 motorway suffered a traffic jam longer than 30 kilometres, meanwhile a semi-truck rollover closed the A43 near Münster for several hours. Officials provided hot beverages and blankets to drivers caught in the mess.

But despite reports of more than 4,000 chickens scattered across the A44 in North Rhine-Westphalia after a transport truck rollover, the sky is not expected to fall.

The northern half of the country can expect sunshine to illuminate the snowy landscape early in the day. Snowfall in central Germany will begin to clear up by evening, weather service Meteomedia reported on Monday.

Temperatures across the country will remain chilly despite the sunshine, ranging from -7 degrees Celsius near Frankfurt an der Oder to just above freezing in the Rhineland.

Skiers in the Alpen regions will enjoy a bit of sunshine too, but flurries won’t end until Tuesday morning, Meteomedia reported.