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WEATHER

Violent storm ‘Xynthia’ cuts deadly path

The vicious Atlantic storm “Xynthia” ravaged Germany overnight, killing at least six and injuring dozens. National rail provider Deutsche Bahn said on Monday morning that commuter traffic was “relatively stable” after wind downed countless trees.

Violent storm 'Xynthia' cuts deadly path
Photo: DPA

The German Weather Service (DWD) called off its storm warning for hurricane-force winds of up to 120 kilometres per hour in most places, but cities above 1,000 metres were still on alert after several casualties across the country.

In Lower Saxony a 46-year-old man died after colliding with a tree when his car was blown from the roadway, police said.

Click here for photos of the deadly storm.

A 74-year-old German motorist was killed and his wife injured when a tree came crashing down on their car in the Black Forest. Falling trees also killed a woman jogging in the western town of Bergheim and a 69-year-old man walking in a forest west of Frankfurt, police said.

Media reports on Monday also said that a two-year-old boy drowned near Frankfurt after a gust of wind blew him into a river.

Several motorists were hurt as the deadly tempest made its way through Germany, including at Uckerath, south of Cologne, where two motorists were injured by trees falling onto the road, police said.

In the western city of Karlsruhe, several policemen were slightly injured when a tree fell on their truck outside a stadium during a football match.

On Sunday, trains had been cancelled in the states of Rhineland-Palatinate, Saarland, North Rhine-Westphalia, and in Hesse, while there were also problems in Saxony-Anhalt, Thuringia and Saxony.

By Monday morning the main rail corridors were all reportedly free from storm disruptions, though delays on regional trains were expected in the state of North Rhine-Westphalia where the storm was at its strongest on Sunday.

Meanwhile officials reopened the Frankfurt Airport rail station, which was closed on Sunday as a safety precaution due to the weather. Airlines there were forced to cancel some 250 flights during the storm, while the nearby A3 motorway was also briefly closed.

Traffic in Frankfurt and Cologne was also reportedly on time, though commuter train lines between Essen and Düsseldorf, and Koblenz and Trier were still delayed.

The storm sparked some 1,700 emergency calls in the district of Arnsberg in North Rhine-Westphalia before 9 pm on Sunday, and a loss of power to about 70 communities in the Eifel region.

Thirty roads in the county of Trier-Saarburg were reportedly impassable due to falling trees during the violent storm.

Dubbed “Xynthia,” the Atlantic storm has already travelled across swathes of Western Europe, killing at least 54 people amid gusts of up to 150 kilometres per hour and eight-metre (26 foot) waves.

The violent weather has also left more than a million households without power across the continent.

Click here for The Local’s weather forecast.

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WEATHER

Snowfall due at the weekend as winter arrives in Germany

After a cold blast at the end of November, winter in Germany is set to begin with yet more snow, making it the perfect time to dig out a puffer coat and get out to Christmas market.

Snowfall due at the weekend as winter arrives in Germany

German punctuality has struck once again as winter looks set to arrive right on cue this year, with a flurry of snowfall, ice and frosty conditions in several regions of the country.

According to the German Weather Service (DWD), Saxony-Anhalt could see the mercury drop as low as -6C on Friday as snow continues to fall until the afternoon. The Harz mountains will also get a festive dusting of snow, with temperatures ranging from -1 to -3C in the coming days.   

Saturday is set to be overcast in the region with up to 5cm of snowfall, but things could dry up on Sunday as temperatures rise to a nippy 1-3C. The eastern states of Saxony and Thuringia can also expect icy conditions and snow over the weekend.

In North Rhine-Westphalia, snow is also expected at higher altitudes. In eastern Westphalia and in the Sauerland region, there could be light snowfall or sleet, DWD reported on Friday. Drivers and cyclists should exercise caution as roads are likely to become slippery due to fresh snow or freezing rain.

DWD explains that two high-pressure areas are currently causing colder winds to sweep across Germany. The first, which caused snow to fall overnight across central Germany, is gradually heading south towards France – though the second is set to bring another icy spell to the country on Friday evening and into Saturday.

Bavaria will be the first to experience the chill as the high-pressure zone travels across the Alps overnight. 

The southern state is likely to have a soggy start to the weekend, with rain falling at lower altitudes – though more hilly and mountainous areas will see some snow. But as temperatures drop during the night, residents of Bavaria could see as much as 5cm as snow on Saturday morning.

READ ALSO: Surviving winter: 8 tips for enjoying the cold like a true German

The rest of the weekend will likely be marked by uniform grey skies, frost and drizzle, though those lucky enough to live in an Alpine region could see a few precious rays of sunshine too.

The weather will also take a distinctly wintry turn in Berlin and Brandenburg over the weekend, as the cold front sweeps across northeastern Germany on Saturday and towards the Baltic Sea. 

Friday is likely to be mostly chilly and overcast, with occasional rain or sleet and maximum temperatures of 2C. 

In the night, however, southern Brandenburg will start to see some fresh snowfall, which will move up across Berlin and to the north of Brandenburg over the course of Saturday.

Snow falls outside the Reichstag in Berlin

Snow falls outside the Reichstag in Berlin on Wednesday. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Christoph Soeder

Berliners should be sure to wrap up if they’re heading out to enjoy the festive scenes, since the mercury is likely to hover between zero and -2C. 

Will the snow settle? 

Unfortunately the dusting of white is unlikely to stick around long in most places – so make your snow angels while you can. 

Misty or overcast skies will return on Advent Sunday, while occasional drizzle could well turn Saturday’s snow into slush. Hilly and mountainous regions will be the only ones treated to an extra helping of snow.

Meanwhile, Monday is set to get off to a soggy and wet start, with rainfall in most regions and temperatures between 1C and 5C. 

READ ALSO: Will Germany see more snow this winter?

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