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Snow wallops Germany

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Snow wallops Germany
Morning commuters in Berlin struggle with the snow. Photo: DPA
08:50 CET+01:00
Germans woke up to heavy blanket of snow and widespread traffic chaos on Thursday, with police reporting the most problems in the states of Saxony and Bavaria.

Up to 15 centimetres of snow was reported in northern and eastern parts of the country, causing accidents and delaying rail and air traffic.

Overnight, authorities in both Saxony and Bavaria reported icy gridlock on several motorways. The A72 in Saxony was temporarily closed for the removal of a truck that had jack-knifed, blocking traffic. Meanwhile the traffic warning service in the state capital Dresden reported numerous ice-related accidents, though there were no serious injuries.

Click here for photos of the winter weather chaos.

High winds also created problems with drifting on roads, they said.

Ongoing snowfall in the southern state of Bavaria caused major traffic snarls, with police reporting problems near Regensburg for several hours in the early morning. Many abandoned transport trucks blocked lanes near on-ramps, they said. And while winter road cleanup crews were out in full force, they were unable to keep up with the heavy snowfall in the region.

Deaths from traffic accidents were reported in Nuremberg and Aschaffenburg.

Meanwhile trains in Saxony, Saxony-Anhalt, Thuringia, and northern Bavaria were also impeded by the snow storm. National rail provider Deutsche Bahn reported that drifting snow and felled trees caused numerous delays. Travel between Leipzig and Nuremberg, as well as between Gerstungen and Leipzig had to be cut off entirely during parts of the night, they said.

A train headed to Munich was stopped by the weather near Saalfeld in the state of Thuringia, where fire fighters and rescue workers provided its 165 passengers with wool blankets, food and drinks.

Trains in Eisenach, Gotha, Erfurt, Leipzig and Dresden were also left standing by the snow, Deutsche Bahn said.

Hundreds of train passengers headed to eastern Germany were forced to spend the night at the Frankfurt train station, where their trips were cut short due to conditions further down the line, Deutsche Bahn said.

Hotels were full due a trade fair in the financial capital, so passengers were put up in sleeper cars until morning, when the trains resumed service.

At the country's largest airport in Frankfurt some 40 flights were cancelled, as were several flights in Munich.

High winds on the northern Baltic Sea coast are likely to bring more storm surges, according to the BSH federal maritime office.

But the German Weather Service (DWD) said the wind was likely to diminish soon, though it predicted more snow and chilly temperatures.

“The low temperatures will remain really extreme,” DWD meteorologist Martin Jonas said, adding that they could dip lower than -15 degrees Celsius in many parts of the country.

Click here for The Local's weather forecast.

DAPD/DPA/ka

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