Snowstorm snarls road and air traffic

Snowstorm snarls road and air traffic
Photo: DPA
Snow and ice in Germany caused hundreds of accidents, lengthy traffic jams and dozens of flight delays on Monday, as meteorologists forecast frigid temperatures and a possible storm surge along the coast.

The storm hit the southern part of the country particularly hard, and some 30 centimetres of snow had already covered parts of the Black Forest in the state of Baden-Württemberg.

The wintry weather created treacherous driving conditions with ice and limited visibility. Several people were injured in auto accidents, and road closures created a 20-kilometre long traffic jam on the A81 motorway.

Traffic was also hindered in Bavaria, where slippery conditions caused cars and trucks to spin off course, blocking lanes and creating pile-ups, police said.

At Munich Airport some 133 flights had been cancelled by midday, with about 100 others delayed by an hour or more. The Frankfurt Airport also saw 60 takeoffs and landings crossed off their schedules, a spokesperson said. Other passengers at airports across the country were told to expect delays of up to 90 minutes as snow continued to fall.

Weather-related problems also snarled traffic in eastern Germany. Several trucks jack-knifed on icy roads in the state of Saxony, creating long traffic jams and a complete standstill on the A72 motorway between Hartenstein and Plauen, officials said. Some 68 accidents and three injuries were reported in the Erzgebirge region alone.

Two highways in the state of Thuringia were also closed due to accidents, and in Saxony-Anhalt 54 accidents were reported in just three hours, a police spokesperson said.

In the Harz Mountains near where the two state borders meet some truck drivers were reportedly forced to abandon their vehicles due to icy conditions, police said.

The region already saw heavy snowfall last week, and on Monday officials measured some 70 centimetres on the Brocken, the highest peak in the range.

Winter has Germany firmly in its icy grips as the first day of meteorological winter December 1 approaches, with temperatures well below zero everywhere except the northern coast and the Upper Rhine region, the German Weather Service (DWD) reported.

But lows are expected to sink to even chillier depths by Friday, when nighttime temperatures could reach a paralysing -20 degrees Celsius.

Meanwhile uncomfortably brisk gale force winds could reach up to 85 kilometres per hour along the northern seacoast, where the DWD also issued a storm flood warning.

On Tuesday sea levels are expected to reach 1.2 metres above normal, the BSH federal maritime office said from its headquarters in Rostock.


Member comments

Become a Member to leave a comment.Or login here.