Snow and ice freeze traffic

Snow and ice caused numerous accidents and road closures around Germany on Thursday, as meteorologists warned more winter weather was on the way.

Snow and ice freeze traffic
Photo: DPA

Traffic in the northern state of Schleswig-Holstein was heavily affected by snowfall, police reported. Multiple accidents were clustered in the districts of Schleswig-Flensburg and Northern Friesland, and two people were injured overnight, they added.

Meanwhile icy roads in the southern state of Baden-Württemberg caused some 40 accidents in just two hours along the A81 motorway in Ludwigsburg county, police said. One collision involved a beet-laden truck that was hit by another car after sliding into a road barrier around 6 am. The truck driver was trapped in the vehicle and severely injured.

Police closed the A81 into Heilbronn due to the extremely icy conditions, causing traffic jams several kilometres long. Winter storms in nearby Heidelberg forced the closure of the A5 motorway, and the 600a and B535 were also impassable.

More snow and freezing temperatures are expected as a low-pressure system continues to send cold air through central Europe, the German Weather Service (DWD) reported.

On Thursday, up to 10 centimetres of snow could fall in coastal areas in Schleswig-Holstein and Lower Saxony. Later in the day snow will likely cover low mountain ranges in the eastern part of the country too.

Friday will be continue to be snowy in eastern and northern Germany, where temperatures will top out between -1 and -8 degrees Celsius. Light snow will continue in many places overnight into Saturday as temperatures reach as low as -15 degrees in the south.

The northern coast will see snowfall on Sunday, though it may turn to rain as the day goes on. Temperatures will average -5 degrees but could drop as low as -10 in the south and east, the DWD said.

While cloud cover will dissipate in the Alps on Sunday, northern and central Germany could get up to 10 centimetres of new snow and rain on the Baltic and North Sea coast. The air will likely warm to exceed freezing.

While more snow is expected in the week to follow, the DWD hesitated to predict a white Christmas, saying that current weather patterns are too “complicated” to make an accurate report.

Click here for The Local’s weather forecast.

Member comments

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.


What temperatures can we expect in Germany this week?

Parts of Germany will see another heatwave this week as temperatures soar.

What temperatures can we expect in Germany this week?

The German Weather Service (DWD) has predicted that the mercury will climb in some regions of to around 34C this week. 

“After low pressure ‘Karin’ gave parts of Germany rain, sometimes in large quantities, high pressure ‘Piet’ is now back in pole position,” said meteorologist Lars Kirchhübel of the DWD.

This high pressure zone will dominate the weather in large parts of western and central Europe over the coming days, the weather expert said, adding that it will reach Germany too. 

On Monday temperatures remained fairly cool across the country after a weekend of showers, but they are set to climb over the course of the week, particularly on Wednesday and Thursday. Forecasters predict it could reach 32C in Stuttgart and 33C in Cologne on Thursday. Locally, temperatures could reach 34C. 

However, from the Oder and Neisse rivers to the Erzgebirge mountains and southeast Bavaria, denser clouds and some showers are to be expected. This is due to a high-level low pressure system over the Balkan region, according to forecasters. Short showers are also possible in the Black Forest.

“In most of the rest of the country, high ‘Piet’ will be able to hold its ground,” said Kirchhübel.

READ ALSO: Heavy rain in Bavaria swells rivers, but flooding avoided

At the end of the week, thunderstorms are forecast but temperatures are expected to remain high. 

August in Germany ‘too dry’

According to the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts, August as a whole – apart from a few areas in eastern Germany – will be too dry compared to the multi-year average.

The Black Forest, the High Rhine and the Allgäu to the Bavarian Forest, however, are not expected to have any major problems due to the high rainfall of the past few days.

“Looking at Rhineland-Palatinate, the southern half of Hesse, the western half of North Rhine-Westphalia and Lower Franconia shows a different picture,” said Kirchhübel. In the last 30 days, only about 10 percent of the usual level of precipitation fell in some places.

“At some stations, no precipitation at all has been measured in August,” added Kirchhübel, referencing Würzburg as an example.

Rainfall at the weekend caused the water in the Rhine river to rise slightly. In Emmerich, the water level reached a positive value again after the historic low of the past few days: in the morning, it showed three centimetres – an increase of six centimetres compared to the previous day.

The water level also rose by several centimetres at the other measuring points in North Rhine-Westphalia: in Cologne, the level rose to 80cm and in Düsseldorf to 38cm.

READ ALSO: Damaged freighter blocks traffic at drought-hit Rhine

Despite this encouraging trend, the Waterways and Shipping Authority said it did not expect a huge improvement in water levels in the foreseeable future due to more hot weather coming.