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Arctic cold wreaks quirky havoc across Germany

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Arctic cold wreaks quirky havoc across Germany
Photo: DPA, The icy turbo-stalagmites in North Rhine-Westphalia
15:30 CET+01:00
The bitter cold is wreaking havoc across Germany in unexpected ways, with the subzero temperatures freezing an ice cream factory, forcing gravediggers to use jackhammers and driving penguins indoors. But Hamburg can look forward to a party.

Residents in the northern port city can look forward to the so-called Alstervergnügen frozen lake festivities, which will take place for the first time in 15 years this weekend.

Food an beverage stands will be step up on the lake on Friday and Saturday each afternoon for the traditional Hamburg event. In recent years, the weather wasn't cold enough to eliminated the risk of revellers falling through the Außenalster's ice.

Click here for The Local's weather forecast

But the weather has been so cold lately, that the pipes froze at the R&R ice cream factory in Osnabruck, Lower Saxony, causing production to grind to a halt on Wednesday morning. A spokesman told the Bild daily newspaper that the pipes were being defrosted and that they hoped to have everything up and running soon - which should be a huge relief to those few desperate for a frozen treat while its -15 outside.

In Berlin gravediggers have been disturbing the peace in the Charlottenburg district by using a jackhammer to prepare the final resting places of the newly deceased. They decided to take a no-nonsense approach after they found digging a grave was “taking two hours longer than usual” due to the ground being frozen solid.

And it's not only the people in Germany who have had enough of the Arctic chill, as even penguins at a zoo in Landau in Rhineland-Palatinate are finding it too chilly. The birds, which come from southern areas of Chile and Peru, are staying firmly out of their pool and have taken to “hiding in the heated cave” according to the zookeeper.

However, geology buffs in Warstein in North Rhine-Westphalia are happily braving temperatures of -20 just to see hundreds of ice stalagmites that have formed in a limestone cave. The so called “turbo-stalagmites” are expected to melt as quickly as they formed when the weather begins to warm so enthusiasts are catching them while they can.

While Wednesday's weather might be a balmy -4 in some regions, the German Weather Service has reported temperatures will drop again over the coming days, with an increased possibility of snow.

The Local/DPA/jcw

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