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White Christmas causes nightmare travel conditions

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White Christmas causes nightmare travel conditions
Photo: DPA
13:10 CET+01:00
Christmas Day saw snow and ice causing mass chaos on roads and railways throughout Germany, with the northern and eastern regions worst affected.

Many roads on the Baltic coast in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania were impassable, while trains on the island of Rügen could not run at all, as snow-drifts formed throughout the northeastern state.

Hazardous weather warnings were also issued at midday throughout the eastern states of Thuringia and Saxony, where a number of trains got stuck in snowdrifts.

A swathe of road accidents were again reported throughout the country, but authorities declared that the general situation had been relatively quiet, since many people had decided not to travel at all.

Rail timetables were decimated by delays and cancellations. Snowdrifts and frozen overhead wires forced trains to take long detours, or caused delays as the snow was cleared.

The rail link from Lüneberg to Dannenberg in Lower Saxony was completely suspended for hours after several trees fell across the tracks under the weight of snow.

Click here for The Local's weather forecast.

But Germany's airports, paradoxically, enjoyed relatively normal service. Only the de-icing of planes caused some minor delays. A spokesman for Frankfurt airport, where hundreds of flights had been cancelled during the week, reported that only 50 flights had to be cancelled on Saturday night. These cancellations were mainly caused by problems at other airports.

Police reported hundreds of road accidents caused by ice, but there were comparatively few serious injuries. However, an 18-year-old was killed in the town of Rüdesheim in Hesse when her car crashed into a coach. The 22 people on board the coach remained uninjured.

The German weather service (DWD) reported that there were will be less snowfall in the coming days, but that temperatures would remain low. On Sunday night, it could drop to -20 degree Celsius in certain areas.

DPA/bk

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