Sudden dose of winter causes traffic chaos

UPDATE: Two people were rescued from avalanches as a blast of winter has taken Germany by surprise, while snow and ice accounted for several traffic accidents across the country on Friday.

Police in Feldberg, in the Black Forest region said that two people were pulled out of two seperate avalanches in the region. Both times, mountain rescue operatorrs were called to the scene. Both people were pulled out without serious injuries. 

"Winter driving conditions are quite normal, but the amount of snow definitely did surprise us," said a Freiburg police spokesperson.

In Osnabrück, Lower Saxony, police reported 33 accidents caused by icy road, including 13 lorries that had jack-knifed across the road or got stuck on the hard shoulder. Police reported no injuries.

Elsewhere around Germany, a passenger bus, several cars and more lorries were stuck in the sudden snow.

"The snow fall came on in a matter of minutes," lorry driver Frank Lutz told n-tv news.

On the A33 between Bielefeld and Gütersloh in North Rhine-Westphalia also counted three accidents, with one woman suffering life-threatening injuries, n-tv reported.

According to the German Weather Service (DWD) snow is expected to fall around the country, with some areas expecting to receive as much as 10 centimetres. As a result, the DWD has put in place weather warnings for all of Germany ahead of the weekend.

In Thuringia, the DWD is warning of 15 to 20 centimetres of snow with strong winds in the higher altitudes, creating a potential for blocked roads and rails.  

Northern Germany can expect more snow too, as well as thunderstorms, the DWD said in its daily report. 

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