Ice and snow cause traffic chaos

Ice and snow cause traffic chaos
Photo: DPA
The biting cold that has blanketed Germany in snow and ice caused chaos on the roads at the beginning of the weekend, killing at least two people and causing thousands of accidents, particularly in the west of the country.

Two people were killed in the far-northern state of Schleswig-Holstein. And police in North Rhine-Westphalia counted more than 1000 weather-related accidents since the beginning of the snow falls on Friday afternoon.

The plummeting temperature caused the breakdown of the power plant for chemical firm BASF in Ludwigshafen in Rhineland-Palatinate.

The temperature at the Funtensee lake in Bavaria dropped to -33.6 degrees. Northern Germany’s highest peak, the Brocken in the Harz mountain range, had its coldest December night in 31 years: -21.7 degrees.

However the German Weather Service (DWD) is forecasting an end soon to the bitter cold, with warmer air replacing low pressure system Vincent by the end of Sunday. Temperatures were set to creep back above zero by Monday and climb to about 5 degrees on Wednesday.

Police said a 24-year-old female driver died in a collision near Neumünster in Schleswig-Holstein after she skidded on snow around a curve into the path of oncoming traffic. Similarly a 52-year-old man in the same state went onto the wrong side of the road and was killed in a collision. His wife suffered life-threatening injuries.

In North Rhine-Westphalia, 20 people were seriously injured and another 85 suffered milder injuries in accidents. The cost of accidents was estimated at about €2.5 million.

In an ice-covered carpark in the Mendig region of the Rhineland-Palatinate, a 39-year-old woman slid into parked car, shunting it into a truck and causing serious head injuries to the truck’s passenger.

Police in Bavaria counted more than 200 accidents overnight on Friday, causing several injuries, though none life-threatening.

Click here for The Local’s weather forecast.

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