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LIGHTNING

Bavaria on edge as hunt for flood victims continues

Six people have now been confirmed dead in flash floods that hit the far southeast of the country on Wednesday evening, while rescue teams search for further missing people.

Bavaria on edge as hunt for flood victims continues
A fire team in Simbach am Inn. Photo: DPA

On Thursday evening authorities in Rottal-Inn, a district which abuts the Austrian border in southern Bavaria, confirmed that a sixth victim of the extreme weather had been found dead.

There is still a huge operation underway to clear the debris and search for the missing, a spokesperson for the district told The Local.

Over 400 volunteers from the fire service are in operation, as are 120 members of the Federal Agency for Technical Relief (THW), and almost 100 police officers.

“It is a picture of devastation here,” the spokesperson said. “Whole houses have been ripped apart. It’s brutal.”

But she added that the water levels were falling back.

“The weather forecasters say there is rain on the way. But, thank God, the sky is blue at the moment.”

Gallery: 10 pictures that capture the tragedy wrought by the floods

More information has also been released about the other victims of the flooding, which destroyed large parts of the towns of Simbach am Inn and Triftern on Wednesday evening.

In one particularly tragic incident, three generations of a family were killed, as a grandmother (78), mother (56) and daughter (28) died after being trapped at home by the rising waters.

In another case an 80-year-old woman’s body was found kilometres away from her house which had been partially destroyed by the ferocious waters.

The body of a 75-year-old man was also found by divers on Thursday.

But several more people are still missing, and families are waiting anxiously for news from loved ones whom they have still failed to contact.

The cost of the damage in the region of Lower Bavaria will come to hundreds of million of euros, the Süddeutsche Zeitung reports.

In the district of Rottal-Inn alone, 500 houses have been damaged, the main road has been partially ruined and a bridge has sunk a few metres into the ground, local councillor Michael Fahmüller told the Munich-based broadsheet.

Bad weather continued to affect other parts of the country on Thursday, too.

In western Germany, two men were badly injured after being struck by lightning on Thursday evening. The men from Krefeld, North Rhine-Westphalia, were brought to hospital for treatment.

The weather men are warning that the danger is not over yet either.

“New rainfalls are coming to Germany and they have the potential to turn into storms,” said a spokesperson for the German Weather Service (DWD).

The meteorologist could not give more exact information on where the storms are to be expected.

Storm warning have subsided, with most of the country having no warning (green). Source DWD

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WEATHER

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?

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