Northern Germany battles winter chaos
AFP/DDP/DPA/The Local · 11 Jan 2010, 11:36
Published: 11 Jan 2010 09:59 GMT+01:00
Updated: 11 Jan 2010 11:36 GMT+01:00
- Harsh winter means major losses for construction industry (11 Jan 10)
- Germany grinds to a halt under thick blanket of snow (10 Jan 10)
The weather, blamed on a low pressure system "Daisy," unleashed a blizzard across the north that left motorways, roads and some railways impassable. Hundreds found themselves stuck in their cars and trucks in snow, or in trains overnight, authorities said.
School was cancelled for Monday in the state of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, while snowdrifts up to two metres (six feet) high meant many villages were "left to their own devices," police said.
Otto-Uwe Schmiedt, the mayor of the Baltic Sea island of Fehmarn, said “good catastrophe management” had averted a potentially disastrous situation after a dyke was damaged by high winds and a storm surge.
“Things still aren’t back to normal,” he said.
He said many of the island’s roads were “almost toboggan runs” even though the authorities had spent around €250,000 working around the clock to keep them clear. “Since Friday cleaning crews have used 15,000 litres of diesel fuel overall,” he said.
Rail traffic on the Stralsund-Greifswald-Pasewalk, Neubrandenburg-Güstrow and Karlsburg-Züssow lines remained closed on Monday while the InterCity connection between Berlin and Stralsund was subject to major rerouting and delays. Trains in the state of Schleswig-Holstein were running, but were also experiencing delays.
The A20 motorway between Gützkow and Greifswald was still closed on Monday morning.
All of Germany was blanketed with snow on Sunday, whipped up in some places by strong winds. Leipzig in the east shivered under 29 centimetres (11 inches) of snow, Berlin had 27 centimetres and Hamburg in the northwest 12 centimetres. Dozens of villages in the rural state of Schleswig-Holstein and on the Baltic Sea islands were completely cut off, while more than 1,000 car accidents were reported across in recent days, several of them fatal.
Air travel was hit as well, with nearly 100 flights cancelled Sunday at Frankfurt airport, Europe's third busiest, after 255 flights were scrapped on Saturday.