Snow set to continue as road salt runs out

The wintery weather currently testing the patience and road grit supplies across Germany is set to get even snowier, with up to a metre of new snowfall expected over the next few days in mountainous areas.

Snow set to continue as road salt runs out
It can be lovely. Photo:DPA

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.

“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.


IN PICTURES: First weekend of Munich’s Oktoberfest sees around 700,000 visitors

Around 700,000 people braved the wet and cold weather to attend the first weekend of the Oktoberfest beer festival in Munich, according to estimates by festival management.

IN PICTURES: First weekend of Munich's Oktoberfest sees around 700,000 visitors

That is significantly less than the around one million visitors seen in 2019, the last time the festival took place as the 2020 and 2021 editions were cancelled due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

READ ALSO: Germany’s famed Oktoberfest opens after two-year pandemic hiatus

“We want the weather gods to remember what decent Wies’n [Oktoberfest] weather looks like,” festival head and CSU politician Clemens Baumgärtner said, German news agency DPA reported.

Man and woman in lederhosen at Oktoberfest

A man and a woman in traditional Lederhosen and Dirndl dresses arrive for the opening of the Oktoberfest beer festival at the Theresienwiese in Munich on September 17, 2022.  (Photo by Christof STACHE / AFP)

The festival opened on Saturday and the first guests were already queuing outside the entrances before sunrise to secure their spot at the front of a beer tent when the site was opened. The first tents closed their doors around noon.

Oktoberfest costume parade

Participants of the traditional costume parade of the Oktoberfest beer festival arrive on September 18, 2022.  (Photo by Christof STACHE / AFP)

But the Schottenhamel tent (the oldest at the Oktoberfest) spokesperson, Christian Schottenhamel, said the numbers of people visiting the tents this year were similar to that seen in 2019, DPA said.

Oktoberfest costume parade

Participants dressed as fools perform during the festival’s traditional costume parade on September 18, 2022. (Photo by Christof STACHE / AFP)

He reported that the atmosphere was euphoric, with people just happy to be celebrating Oktoberfest again.

Oktoberfest beer tent visitors

The first visitors arrive and reserve places in a beer tent during the opening of the festival on September 17, 2022. (Photo by Christof STACHE / AFP)

The festival has attracted a mixed audience so far, including families with children and visitors from abroad, such as from the United States and France.

But the spokesperson for the smaller tents, Otto Lindinger, said the audience was getting younger, noting strong demand for meat-free dishes, although the Oktoberfest chicken was said to still be a hit.

Visitors celebrate at Oktoberfest

Visitors jostle for a Maß in a beer tent at the Oktoberfest on September 17, 2022. (Photo by Christof STACHE / AFP)

Over on the south side of the festival area, head of the museum tent Yvonne Heckl described the atmosphere in the traditional ‘Oide Wies’n’, or old Oktoberfest, area as “chilled and calm”.

The festival lasts until October 3rd, as German Unity Day falls on the Monday after the last Oktoberfest Sunday.