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WEATHER

‘St. Jude’ storm hits Germany, kills four

UPDATE: The violent “St. Jude” storm that hit the UK on Sunday night reached Germany on Monday, killing a mother and child. Strong winds and heavy rain battered northern parts of the country grounding flights and halting trains.

'St. Jude' storm hits Germany, kills four
Photo: DPA

The mother and her child were killed when a tree fell on their car near Gelsenkirchen in North Rhine-Westphalia. Two other children were injured in the incident, one seriously.

A sailor died near Cologne on Sunday when his boat capsized on a lake and an angler also drowned when his boat was tipped over by strong waves in west Germany.

In Emden, East Frisia, strong winds ripped off the roof of this harbour building.

Planes towards Scandinavia were grounded out of Hamburg airport on Monday afternoon and the city's S-Bahn was experiencing delays.

From 2.30pm onwards, Deutsche Bahn shut down Schleswig-Holstein's entire regional train service until further notice due to the severe weather.

Flights from Düsseldorf to Hamburg were also cancelled.

CLICK HERE for photos of the storms in northern Germany

Meanwhile, strong winds ripped off a facade from the front of a university building as far south as Göttingen, Lower Saxony, smashing several cars.

Germany was not expected to be exposed to the same widespread damage that southern parts of Britain woke up to on Monday morning, but northern coastal areas are seeing gale-force winds, wild seas, and lots of rain.

A separate weather system will bring similar storms to the south at the same time.

By mid Monday afternoon reports of damage had already started coming in. with a university facade in Göttingen in Lower Saxony

Late Monday afternoon could see gusts of up to 140km/h, meteorologist Christian Herold of the DWD said. This will move to more inland northern areas, which could see blasts of between 70 and 100 km/h.

Monday night will bring more rain to the south and south-western states. Storms will bear down along the North Sea coastline, with gale-force blasts expected to rock towns and villages.

This will be accompanied by balmy lows of 12C in the north of the country, and cooler temperatures of 5C in the south around the Alps.

Check out the latest weather forecast for your part of Germany here

On Tuesday, rain will fall in the north and west of the country. Occasional thunderclaps will be heard along the coast. A separate bout of more intense rain will fall in the foothills of the Alps.

The eastern states will be sunnier though, avoiding the main onslaught of wild weather. It will remain warm with highs of 17C around the Rhine in the west and in dry parts of the east. In the south, a brisk wind will force temperatures slightly cooler.

Rain and wind will continue through Tuesday night for the North Sea coast. The south east will also be hit by showers. Most other parts of Germany should be dry, with lows between 9C and 2C. In higher areas it could drop to freezing.

Wednesday will see rain across Lake Constance up to Bavaria's forests. While stormy conditions will ease a little, it will likely remain very wet and windy up along the north coast. Western, central and eastern states should stay dry. Temperatures will hover between 14C and 8C.

Dry weather should reign by Wednesday night, as rainclouds retreat. This does mean that fog will build up through the night, and that temperatures will sink to around 9C along the coast and -1C in rural, central areas.

As early-morning fog clears on Thursday, the day will develop into a dull one. It should, however, stay dry even along the coast. Wind will have calmed by then and there should be highs of between 14C and 9C.

READ MORE: Nine weird German weather phenomena

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TRAVEL NEWS

What we know so far about Berlin’s follow-up to the €9 ticket

After weeks of debate, Berlin has settled on a new budget ticket to replace the €9 ticket for a limited time. Here's what know about the travel deal so far.

What we know so far about Berlin's follow-up to the €9 ticket

So Berlin’s getting a new €9 ticket? Cool!

Kind of. Last Thursday, the Berlin Senate agreed to implement a €29 monthly ticket from October 1st until December 31st this year. 

It’s designed to bridge the gap between the end of the €9 ticket deal and the introduction of a new national transport deal that’s due to come into force by January 2023.

The Senate still hasn’t fleshed out the details in a written decision yet, so some aspects of the ticket aren’t clear, but we do know a few things about how it’ll work. For €29 a month, people can get unlimited travel on all modes of public transport in Berlin transport zones A and B. That means buses, trains and trams are all covered – but things like taxis aren’t. 

Wait – just zones A and B. Why’s that?

One of the sticking points in planning the new ticket was the fact that neighbouring state Brandenburg was reluctant to support the idea. Franziska Giffey (SPD), the governing mayor of Berlin, had annoyed her neighbours and surprised her own coalition partners by suddenly pitching the idea at the end of August – shortly before the €9 ticket was due to expire.

At the time, the disgruntled Brandenburg state premier Dietmar Woidke (SPD) complained about the lack of advance notice for a proper debate. He had previously ruled out a successor to the €9 ticket in the state. Meanwhile, the CDU – who are part of the governing coalition in Brandenburg – slammed the idea for a new cheap ticket as a “waste of money” and an attempt to “buy votes” for the SPD.

The blockade meant that plans for a Berlin-Brandenburg ticket run by transport operator VBB had to be scrapped, and the monthly ticket has instead been restricted to the two transport zones solely operated by Berlin’s BVG. Since zone C stretches into Brandenburg, Berlin couldn’t include this zone in the ticket unilaterally. 

Berlin transport zones explained

Source: S-Bahn Berlin

The good news is that zones A and B cover everything within the city’s borders, taking you as far as Spandau in the west and Grunau in the southeast. So unless you plan regular trips out to the Brandenburg, you should be fine.

However, keep in mind that the Berlin-Brandenburg BER airport is in zone C, so you’ll need an ‘add-on’ ticket to travel to and from there. It’s also not great for the many people who live in Potsdam in Brandenburg and commute into Berlin regularly. 

READ ALSO: Berlin gets green light to launch €29 transport ticket

How can people get hold of it? 

Unlike the €9 ticket, you won’t be able to buy it at stations on a monthly basis. Instead, the €29 ticket is only for people who take out a monthly ‘Abo’ (subscription) for zones A and B. If you’ve already got a monthly subscription, the lower price will be deducted automatically, while yearly Abo-holders will likely get a refund. 

You can take out a monthly subscription on the BVG website here – though, at the time of writing, the price of the ticket hadn’t been updated yet. According to Giffey, people will be able to terminate their subscription at the end of December without facing a penalty. 

What types of ‘Abos’ are eligible for the deal? 

According to Berlin transport operator BVG, people with the following subscriptions are set to benefit from the reduced price from October to December: 

  • VBB-Umweltkarten with monthly and annual direct debit
  • 10 o’clock tickets with monthly and yearly direct debit
  • VBB-Firmentickets with monthly and yearly direct debit 
  • Trainee subscriptions with monthly direct debit

People who already have reduced-price subscriptions, such as over-65s and benefits claimants, aren’t set to see any further reductions. That’s because many of these subscriptions already work out at under €29 per month for zones A and B. 

Passengers exit an U-Bahn train in Berlin

Passengers exit an U-Bahn train at Zoologischer Garten. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Jörg Carstensen

Can students with a Semesterticket get it as well?

That’s one of the things that still needs to be clarified. It’s possible that universities will choose to refund part of the Semesterticket price like they did with the €9 ticket. The Local has contacted BVG for more information. 

Can I take my bike/dog/significant other along for the ride? 

Once again, this doesn’t appear to have been ironed out yet – but we can assume that the usual rules of your monthly or yearly subscription will apply. So, as with the €9 ticket, if your bike is included in your subscription, you can continue to take it with you. If not, you’ll probably have to pay for a bike ticket.

In most cases, monthly BVG subscriptions allow you to take one dog with you for free, and also bring one adult and up to three children (under 14) with you on the train on evenings and weekends. These rules are likely to stay the same, but we’ll update you as soon as we know more. 

How much is this all going to cost?

According to regional radio station RBB24, around €105 million is set to be put aside in order to subsidise the temporary ticket. However, this still needs to be formalised in a supplementary budget and given the green light in the Senate. 

An S-Bahn train leaves Grünewald station

An S-Bahn train leaves Grünewald station. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Christophe Gateau

OK. And what happens after the €29 ticket?

That’s the million – or, rather, billion – euro question right now. In its latest package of inflation relief measures, the federal government said it would be making €1.5 billion available for a follow-up to the €9 ticket.

The ticket is set to be introduced by January 2023 and will rely on Germany’s 16 states matching or exceeding the federal government’s €1.5 billion cash injection. So far, it looks set to be a monthly ticket that can be used on public transport nationally, with the price set somewhere between €49 and €69.

However, the Greens continue to push for a two-tier model that would give passengers the option of buying either a regional or national ticket. Under their proposals, the regional tickets would cost €29 and the national tickets would cost €69.

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