Six billion tonnes of snow smother Germany
Germany shivered under a thick blanket of snow on Tuesday, causing endless flight cancellations, accidents and public transport nightmares.
Nearly half of all flights in and out of Frankfurt airport, Germany's largest, were cancelled on Tuesday morning, with 543 of 1,190 scheduled flights abandoned.
Despite efforts made to let people know about cancellations and delays, dozens of people ended up sleeping on emergency camping beds set up in the airport, a spokesman said. He added that most of passengers whose plans were disrupted had been put up in hotels overnight.
The snow would, German weather service the DWD said, continue over the next few days before temperatures plummet to below minus 10 degrees Celsius.
By Wednesday, meteorologists said the country would be covered in around six billion tonnes of snow.
Monday morning was tough for commuters everywhere after three and a half billion tonnes of snow fell on Sunday alone. In central Germany between Thuringia and Hesse thousands of drivers found themselves in a 70-kilometre-long traffic jam on Monday morning amid freezing temperatures and falling snow.
Caused by a truck which in the small hours skidded and crashed on black ice, the jam took hours to clear. Trapped drivers were given blankets, warm drinks and food by helpers.
Persistent snow has also proved challenging for the country's public transport system. Trams in Frankfurt have not been running since Sunday, resulting in overfilled buses. In Berlin, the S-Bahn urban train system struggled with delays of up to 20 minutes on the busy ring line. Some trains on other lines failed to show up at all.
Outside the capital in Brandenburg, three people died in an accident on the A13 motorway after a truck slammed into their car and crushed it early on Tuesday morning. Black ice is thought to have caused the skid.
In Bavaria icy roads also caused two trucks to collide head-on late Monday evening. Both drivers, a 66- and 47-year-old remain in a critical condition in a Munich hospital after being airlifted from the site near Markt Schwaben.