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WEATHER

Snow falls across Germany to ring in the New Year

In pictures: A fresh layer of snow greeted Germans across various parts of the country as they returned to their first work week of 2017.

Snow falls across Germany to ring in the New Year
Snow on a car in Dresden on Monday. Photo: DPA.

Residents of North Rhine-Westphalia, Saxony, Saxony-Anhalt, Thuringia, Berlin and Brandenburg were all greeted with fresh snow as the new year began.

“Snow could fall until before noon,” said a spokeswoman from German weather service DWD on Monday. “Also in the afternoon, it could snow again, however the snow will quickly thaw and turn into slush.”

A child plays in snow on Sunday, January 1st in Frankfurt. Photo: DPA.

And while the frosty weather has caused some issues during the morning commute in the western state of North Rhine-Westphalia, drivers there are not expected to have to deal with any major setbacks.

“There have been a few weather-related accidents, but there has not been chaos,” said a police spokesman in the state capital of Düsseldorf.

And over the next few days, North Rhine-Westphalia is expected to maintain its wintry atmosphere.

“Snow and sleet will accompany us this week,” said the DWD spokeswoman. “But a sudden onset of winter is not to be expected.”

A cyclist riders through snow in Cologne on Monday morning. Photo: DPA.

Eastern states also experienced their first snowfalls of the year. A weather service spokesman in Leipzig said that snowflakes started to descend at about 3am.

Across Saxony, Saxony-Anhalt and Thuringia, the average snowfall was about two centimetres.

In the area around Eisenach, Thuringia, police said that snow had caused problems for several trucks driving along the motorways and the road services had to be called in during the early morning hours of Monday.

Berlin and Brandenburg also saw light snowfall, and police said that this had not caused any problems for drivers, or for public transit passengers.

Social media users from the capital city and beyond were excited to share pictures of their early morning snow shots, like the Instagram image below.

 

A photo posted by L. Schwarz (@la.schwarz) on Jan 2, 2017 at 12:18am PST

Even those living in the southern city of Munich caught vistas of white on camera, like below.

 

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WILDFIRES

2022 sees record wildfire destruction in Europe: EU

Europe's blistering summer may not be over yet, but 2022 is already breaking records, with nearly 660,000 hectares ravaged since January, according to the EU's satellite monitoring service.

2022 sees record wildfire destruction in Europe: EU

And while countries on the Mediterranean have normally been the main seats of fires in Europe, this year, other countries are also suffering heavily.

Fires this year have forced people to flee their homes, destroyed buildings and burned forests in EU countries, including Austria, Croatia, France, Greece, Italy, Portugal and Spain.

Some 659,541 hectares (1.6 million acres) have been destroyed so far, data from the European Forest Fire Information System (EFFIS) showed, setting a record at this point in the year since data collection began in 2006.

Europe has suffered a series of heatwaves, forest fires and historic drought that experts say are being driven by human-induced climate change.

They warn more frequent and longer heatwaves are on the way.

The worst-affected country has been Spain, where fire has destroyed 244,924 hectares, according to EFFIS data.

The EFFIS uses satellite data from the EU’s Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service (CAMS).

READ ALSO: EXPLAINED: How the climate crisis is hitting Europe hard

The data comes after CAMS said Friday that 2022 was a record year for wildfire activity in southwestern Europe and warned that a large proportion of western Europe was now in “extreme fire danger”.

“2022 is already a record year, just below 2017,” EFFIS coordinator Jesus San-Miguel said. In 2017, 420,913 hectares had burned by August 13, rising to 988,087 hectares by the end of the year.

“The situation in terms of drought and extremely high temperatures has affected all of Europe this year and the overall situation in the region is worrying, while we are still in the middle of the fire season,” he said.

Since 2010, there had been a trend towards more fires in central and northern Europe, with fires in countries that “normally do not experience fires in their territory”, he added.

“The overall fire season in the EU is really driven mainly by countries in the Mediterranean region, except in years like this one, in which fires also happen in central and northern regions,” he added.

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