Three dead as floods wreak havoc in southern Germany

At least three people have lost their lives as extreme weather, including flash floods, hail storms and lightning storms wreaked havoc in southern Germany on Sunday evening.

Three dead as floods wreak havoc in southern Germany
The aftermath in the town of Braunsbach. Photo: DPA

The states of Baden-Württemberg and Bavaria were struggling to cope with the results of destructive storms on Monday morning.

In Schwäbisch Gmünd in Baden-Württemberg a firefighter died on Sunday while trying to dig a stranded person out of trouble. The person he was trying to save is also likely dead, authorities said on Sunday evening.

In Heilbronn, meanwhile, police also confirmed that one person died after being trapped in an underground garage during flooding.

“We are using all the resources we have,” a police spokesperson in the town said of the flooding. “It’s not looking good here, it’s looking really bad.”

Videos uploaded to the internet show torrential rain and powerful flash floods dragging everything that wasn’t fixed to the ground with them.

The number of casualties has not yet been confirmed by the state interior ministry in Baden-Württemberg.

Police in the wealthy south-western state took thousands of emergency calls. In Ulm alone authorities recorded 490 emergency calls in a five-hour period.

In Biberach a landslide dragged trees and mud onto an industrial area.

The Autobahn between Giengen und Oberkochen had to been shut down after hail stones covered it to ankle height, with snow ploughs brought in to clear the asphalt.

In the town of Künzelsau the major talked of a “natural disaster” after several roads had to be closed down while debris was cleared away.

Particularly badly affected was the town of Braunsbach in the north of Baden-Württemberg. Local police spoke of wide-scale destruction after a river burst its banks.

Video footage from the town shows the terrifying strength of the flooding as it surged through the streets. Much of the area had to be evacuated but there were no deaths reported.

In Bavaria storms also caused massive damage.

In Ansbach whole streets were flooded and powerful water flows ripped cars along with them. Some houses north of the town were so badly damaged that they could now collapse. Emergency services are now working to prop up the structures.

There were no deaths reported in the town.

On Saturday 35 people, including ten children, were injured when lightning struck a sports pitch in the west of the country.

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Snowfall due at the weekend as winter arrives in Germany

After a cold blast at the end of November, winter in Germany is set to begin with yet more snow, making it the perfect time to dig out a puffer coat and get out to Christmas market.

Snowfall due at the weekend as winter arrives in Germany

German punctuality has struck once again as winter looks set to arrive right on cue this year, with a flurry of snowfall, ice and frosty conditions in several regions of the country.

According to the German Weather Service (DWD), Saxony-Anhalt could see the mercury drop as low as -6C on Friday as snow continues to fall until the afternoon. The Harz mountains will also get a festive dusting of snow, with temperatures ranging from -1 to -3C in the coming days.   

Saturday is set to be overcast in the region with up to 5cm of snowfall, but things could dry up on Sunday as temperatures rise to a nippy 1-3C. The eastern states of Saxony and Thuringia can also expect icy conditions and snow over the weekend.

In North Rhine-Westphalia, snow is also expected at higher altitudes. In eastern Westphalia and in the Sauerland region, there could be light snowfall or sleet, DWD reported on Friday. Drivers and cyclists should exercise caution as roads are likely to become slippery due to fresh snow or freezing rain.

DWD explains that two high-pressure areas are currently causing colder winds to sweep across Germany. The first, which caused snow to fall overnight across central Germany, is gradually heading south towards France – though the second is set to bring another icy spell to the country on Friday evening and into Saturday.

Bavaria will be the first to experience the chill as the high-pressure zone travels across the Alps overnight. 

The southern state is likely to have a soggy start to the weekend, with rain falling at lower altitudes – though more hilly and mountainous areas will see some snow. But as temperatures drop during the night, residents of Bavaria could see as much as 5cm as snow on Saturday morning.

READ ALSO: Surviving winter: 8 tips for enjoying the cold like a true German

The rest of the weekend will likely be marked by uniform grey skies, frost and drizzle, though those lucky enough to live in an Alpine region could see a few precious rays of sunshine too.

The weather will also take a distinctly wintry turn in Berlin and Brandenburg over the weekend, as the cold front sweeps across northeastern Germany on Saturday and towards the Baltic Sea. 

Friday is likely to be mostly chilly and overcast, with occasional rain or sleet and maximum temperatures of 2C. 

In the night, however, southern Brandenburg will start to see some fresh snowfall, which will move up across Berlin and to the north of Brandenburg over the course of Saturday.

Snow falls outside the Reichstag in Berlin

Snow falls outside the Reichstag in Berlin on Wednesday. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Christoph Soeder

Berliners should be sure to wrap up if they’re heading out to enjoy the festive scenes, since the mercury is likely to hover between zero and -2C. 

Will the snow settle? 

Unfortunately the dusting of white is unlikely to stick around long in most places – so make your snow angels while you can. 

Misty or overcast skies will return on Advent Sunday, while occasional drizzle could well turn Saturday’s snow into slush. Hilly and mountainous regions will be the only ones treated to an extra helping of snow.

Meanwhile, Monday is set to get off to a soggy and wet start, with rainfall in most regions and temperatures between 1C and 5C. 

READ ALSO: Will Germany see more snow this winter?