Hamburg politician puts the ‘I’ in street de-icing

The president of Hamburg's city parliament is reportedly in hot water for ordering authorities to clear the footpaths of ice outside his own home while leaving the rest of the city to slip and slide their way home.

Hamburg politician puts the 'I' in street de-icing
Photo: DPA

According to the daily Hamburger Morgenpost, Berndt Röder of the conservative Christian Democrats ordered for his street to be cleared in the area outside his own door.

The apparent favouritism is causing a stir of anger in the Groß Borstel district of Hamburg, where Röder lives.

“People are surprised,” said Wolf Wieters, chairman of the local community association. “Streets on which many people live are pure skating rinks and of all places Mr Röder’s street has been painstakingly cleaned.”

A parliamentary insider confirmed the suspicions of the people in the area: the president of the city-state’s legislature had given city authorities the understanding that he would like his street to be cleared of ice.

“It extended past three corners, but the matter was quite clear,” the insider said, adding that no other politician had made such a barefaced request.

After months of steady snow, and with Germany’s temperatures still languishing below zero, the permanent ice has caused a spike in injuries. Many hospitals have seen a rise in broken bones, which they are blaming on poorly cleared streets. Some hospitals had so many cases they’d stopped counting, according to a survey by news agency DPA on Monday.

Röder has been in trouble before, in 2004, when he decided to test the real-life response time of the Hamburg police by faking an emergency call. He was strongly criticised by the police union and the media, and fined €2,500.

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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.