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Snow set to continue as road salt runs out

DDP/DPA/The Local · 21 Feb 2009, 09:46

Published: 21 Feb 2009 09:46 GMT+01:00

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Even the more populated low-land areas should expect up to 20 cm more of the white stuff meteorologists warned at the weekend.

The continuing snowfall is already causing problems up and down the country, with more than 50 flights cancelled from Berlin airports on Friday and road salt supplies in Bavaria running low.

Die Welt newspaper reported on Saturday that not only were some road salt firms such as Heilbronner Südsalz unable to keep up with demand, deliveries were being held up due to the snow on the roads.

Areas of Thuringia are also using up their emergency salt and grit stocks, the paper reported. Norbert Bonanati from the German Weather Service said, “We are expecting snow storm conditions on Sunday and Monday.”

Traffic travelling south through Bavaria was a nightmare on Saturday, as thousands decided to head for the hills to ski. Vehicles were backed up for around 60 km on the A8 from Munich in the direction of Salzburg, while the motorway around the Bavarian capital was also blocked with traffic.

Wolfgang Fricke also from the German Weather Service told the Extreme Weather Congress in Bremerhaven that the long-term central European weather systems were changing faster than ever.

“Compared with the last 120 years, the changes in the current decade are extremely distinct,” he said. “We are moving ever faster from the conditions which ruled in 1881, when the weather classification was begun.”

Having analysed the weather reports since then, Fricke said he could distinguish a strong trend towards very changeable weather conditions during the winter, along with fewer high pressure systems. “Together this means that the winters are getting wetter,” he said.

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“But in the summer we are experiencing increasing numbers of high pressure systems.”

He said he thought the changes were expressions of the climate change caused by man, but allowed for the possibility of the cause being part of a natural development lasting hundreds of years.

DDP/DPA/The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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