• Germany's news in English

Snow cripples transport, causes blackouts

The Local · 9 Dec 2010, 16:07

Published: 09 Dec 2010 08:35 GMT+01:00
Updated: 09 Dec 2010 16:07 GMT+01:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Thousands of people in the counties of Saale-Orla and Saalfeld-Rudolstadt in Thuringia have been without electricity for past 12 hours, according to the energy company EON.

Trees toppling from heavy snow and ice rain ripped down power lines. “We can hardly make it to the areas needing repairs,” said a utility spokesman.

Snowfall and black ice caused transport chaos across much of the country, with the Frankfurt Airport – Germany’s most important hub – closed for several hours overnight.

Click here for photos of Germany’s winter weather.

The worst winter conditions were reported in the states of Saarland, Rhineland-Palatinate, Bavarian, Thuringia and Saxony, with closures, delays and accidents reported for roads, trains and air traffic.

Treacherous runways at the Frankfurt Airport forced officials to close it down due to poor visibility and fears that landing planes would be unable to brake properly.

Over 400 flights were cancelled by midday Thursday. “We expect further cancellations and delays,” said Gunnar Schneunemann, spokesman for airport operator Fraport.

Over 3,000 passengers were stranded in the airport’s terminals on Wednesday night, sleeping on piles of their clothing, newspapers and luggage carousels.

"What's going on here?" asked one stranded businesswoman from Canada. "There's a little snow on the ground and suddenly everything breaks down."

Even the sultry heat of Latina superstar Shakira fell prey to winter's icy grip on Europe – her concert in Frankfurt on Wednesday night had to be cancelled after the singer was trapped in Paris.

Around 700 people had to spend the night at Munich Airport after their flights to Frankfurt were rerouted to the Bavarian capital. An airport spokesman said several flights were cancelled on Thursday morning due to the weather.

More than 200 flights were also cancelled in snowy Berlin on Thursday. The city's Schönefeld Airport had to shut down completely after it ran out of deicing fluid for the planes. A truck with fresh supplies was reportedly caught in a traffic jam caused by the snow.

Meanwhile felled trees and chunks of ice blocked tracks forced national rail provider Deutsche Bahn to reroute and cancel several routes. Travel between Nuremberg and Leipzig was particularly hard hit.

Two high-speed ICE trains between Berlin and Munich were rerouted because too much snow had gathered on tracks, a spokesperson said.

Story continues below…

Deutsche Bahn also issued a general warning of cancellations and delays in the states of Thuringia and Saxony “due to the weather conditions.” In some cases the company has been unable to find enough buses to replace their cancelled services. And road conditions in Saarland and Rhineland-Palatinate were so dangerous that bus service was also suspended.

Roads are likely to remain treacherous with up to 20 centimetres of new snow expected in parts of the country on Thursday. Particularly the regions near the Alps and the central mountain ranges will be blanketed. Making matters worse, there will be strong winds at higher altitudes and along the North Sea coast.

Click here for The Local's weather forecast.


Related links:

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

12:13 December 9, 2010 by PawD
Why can't a country which is covered for more than 3 months in a blanket of snow be more prepared? With such lax administration I sometimes fell I haven't left the shores of India!
13:09 December 9, 2010 by auniquecorn
SNOW TAX, Thats what we need, then the gov will have the funds to stay on top of this powerful force thats been wrecking haveck on this country for the last 2500 years.
13:09 December 9, 2010 by freechoice
hammer is an overstatement, more like soft gentle crystals of spotties falling from the sky. but what lays a behind a path of destruction for many.
14:35 December 9, 2010 by Jude the Obscure
I liked last week's "wallops" better. Can we have "thwacks"?
15:14 December 9, 2010 by auniquecorn
17:18 December 9, 2010 by DinhoPilot
Guermany waz caughtz in zuprize daz the problemz, last year was the same stuff and next year will too. ^^

Snow is ninja people
17:24 December 9, 2010 by Rüger
How much snow did Germany get??? It has been snowing for 5 days straight here in Western NY.. Some places have upwards of 3 feet!!! Thought that transportation authorities in Germany were better than that!!!
17:42 December 9, 2010 by mixxim
Those people in England who complain that they are the only country which cannot cope should see this site.
18:21 December 9, 2010 by drdoom

any country will face problem when the magnitute is higher than normal. So do not cry.
19:29 December 9, 2010 by catjones
Do what Berliners do...ignore it. I'll be gone by summer.
Today's headlines
Five things not to miss at the Frankfurt Book Fair
Photo: DPA

From consulting a book doctor to immersing yourself in an author's world with the help of virtual reality, here are five things not to miss at this week's Frankfurt Book Fair, the world's largest publishing event.

Parents who don't get nursery spot for kid entitled to pay
Photo: DPA

The Federal Court of Justice (BGH) ruled on Thursday that parents whose children don't receive placements in nursery care are entitled to compensation.

Eurowings braces as cabin crew union proclaims strike
Photo: DPA

A union representing cabin crew for Lufthansa's budget airline Eurowings announced that strikes could take place at any time over the next two weeks, starting on Monday.

Mysterious German U-boat wreckage found off Scotland
Photo: ScottishPower

First World War U-boat "attacked by sea monster” thought to be found off Scottish coast.

Supermarket Edeka warns of exploding apple juice bottles
Photo: DPA

"Risk of injury" from "Gut und Günstig" sparkling apple juice bottles has forced Germany's largest supermarket to recall the product.

By wheelchair from Syria to Germany: teen's story of hope
Nujeen Mustafa. Photo: HarperCollins-William Collins Publicity/Private

She tackled the gruelling 2,000-kilometre migrant trail in a wheelchair, translating along the way for other refugees using English she learned from a US soap opera. Now this teen is living in Germany and hoping to inspire others with a newly published memoir.

Berlin Zoo to have a pair of pandas by next summer
A recently born panda pair at Vienna Zoo. Photo: DPA

The giant bamboo-eating bears will move into a brand new 5,000 square-metre enclosure in the capital's Zoologischer Garten.

Two new spider species discovered in Munich
Zoropsis spinimana. Photo: rankingranqueen / Wikimedia Commons

It's news every arachnophobe in Munich is no doubt thrilled to hear: two types of spider new to the region have been discovered in the Bavarian capital - and one of them bites!

After woman's body found in barrel, husband may walk free
Franziska S., who went missing 24 years ago. Photo: Hanover police.

A woman disappeared in Hanover 24 years ago, but no one reported her missing. Although her husband has now confessed to her murder, he still may not step foot in jail.

Two injured after army tank falls 50 metres in Alps
A Bundeswehr Puma tank. File photo: DPA

A Bundeswehr (German army) soldier has been severely injured after the tank he was riding in crashed 50 metres down an embankment after going off course in bad weather.

Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
10 things you never knew about socialist East Germany
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
How Germans fell in love with America's favourite squash
How I ditched London for Berlin and became a published author
Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
12 clever German idioms that'll make you sound like a pro
23 fascinating facts you never knew about Berlin
9 unmissable events to check out in Germany this October
10 things you never knew about German reunification
10 things you're sure to notice after an Oktoberfest visit
Germany's 10 most Instagram-able places
15 pics that prove Germany is absolutely enchanting in autumn
10 German films you have to watch before you die
6 things about Munich that’ll stay with you forever
10 pieces of German slang you'll never learn in class
Ouch! Naked swimmer hospitalized after angler hooks his penis
Six reasons why Berlin is now known as 'the failed city'
15 tell-tale signs you’ll never quite master German
7 American habits that make Germans very, very uncomfortable
Story of a fugitive cow who outwitted police for weeks before capture
Eleven famous Germans with surnames that'll make your sides split
The best ways to get a visa as an American in Germany
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd