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WEATHER

At least 20 hurt in 100-car autobahn pile-up

Around 20 people were hurt, six seriously, when at least 100 vehicles were involved in a huge pile-up amid horrendous weather in central Germany on Tuesday.

At least 20 hurt in 100-car autobahn pile-up
Photo: DPA

The A45 motorway near Münzenberg north of Frankfurt was completely shut down in both directions while rescue services tried to pick through the wreckage to reach those inside, some of whom had to be cut out.

Local catastrophe service spokesman Hagen Vetter said the autobahn looked like a battlefield, covered in wreckage.

Heavy drifting snow had already led to several accidents in the area before the massive crash.

Earlier in the day a school bus crashed head-on with a car in eastern Germany, killing both men in the vehicle and injuring 30 children.

The 55 children onboard were en route to their school in the small village of Salzwedel in Saxony-Anhalt, when their bus and a car collided.

Both men in the passenger vehicle died at the scene. According to the Süddeutsche Zeitung the driver came around a right-hand bend and into the wrong lane, where it hit the bus front-on.

A replacement bus was used to take the children to school, where they were seen to by doctors. Just one of them had to go to hospital.

Heavy snow and ice caused crashes all over Germany’s roads over the past few days. Four people were injured in a pile up near Bornheim in North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW) on Monday evening, Der Spiegel magazine reported.

One driver died after his car hit black ice near Marburg, in the central state of Hesse. In NRW again, a woman lost control of her car and crashed into a tree. She and the passenger – her son – both had to be hospitalised.

DAPD/DPA/The Local/jcw/hc

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WEATHER

What temperatures can we expect in Germany this week?

Parts of Germany will see another heatwave this week as temperatures soar.

What temperatures can we expect in Germany this week?

The German Weather Service (DWD) has predicted that the mercury will climb in some regions of to around 34C this week. 

“After low pressure ‘Karin’ gave parts of Germany rain, sometimes in large quantities, high pressure ‘Piet’ is now back in pole position,” said meteorologist Lars Kirchhübel of the DWD.

This high pressure zone will dominate the weather in large parts of western and central Europe over the coming days, the weather expert said, adding that it will reach Germany too. 

On Monday temperatures remained fairly cool across the country after a weekend of showers, but they are set to climb over the course of the week, particularly on Wednesday and Thursday. Forecasters predict it could reach 32C in Stuttgart and 33C in Cologne on Thursday. Locally, temperatures could reach 34C. 

However, from the Oder and Neisse rivers to the Erzgebirge mountains and southeast Bavaria, denser clouds and some showers are to be expected. This is due to a high-level low pressure system over the Balkan region, according to forecasters. Short showers are also possible in the Black Forest.

“In most of the rest of the country, high ‘Piet’ will be able to hold its ground,” said Kirchhübel.

READ ALSO: Heavy rain in Bavaria swells rivers, but flooding avoided

At the end of the week, thunderstorms are forecast but temperatures are expected to remain high. 

August in Germany ‘too dry’

According to the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts, August as a whole – apart from a few areas in eastern Germany – will be too dry compared to the multi-year average.

The Black Forest, the High Rhine and the Allgäu to the Bavarian Forest, however, are not expected to have any major problems due to the high rainfall of the past few days.

“Looking at Rhineland-Palatinate, the southern half of Hesse, the western half of North Rhine-Westphalia and Lower Franconia shows a different picture,” said Kirchhübel. In the last 30 days, only about 10 percent of the usual level of precipitation fell in some places.

“At some stations, no precipitation at all has been measured in August,” added Kirchhübel, referencing Würzburg as an example.

Rainfall at the weekend caused the water in the Rhine river to rise slightly. In Emmerich, the water level reached a positive value again after the historic low of the past few days: in the morning, it showed three centimetres – an increase of six centimetres compared to the previous day.

The water level also rose by several centimetres at the other measuring points in North Rhine-Westphalia: in Cologne, the level rose to 80cm and in Düsseldorf to 38cm.

READ ALSO: Damaged freighter blocks traffic at drought-hit Rhine

Despite this encouraging trend, the Waterways and Shipping Authority said it did not expect a huge improvement in water levels in the foreseeable future due to more hot weather coming.

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