Ice cold and lots of snow: slippery roads and rail disruptions in Hamburg

Motorists and transport passengers in Hamburg should prepare for delays. Ice cold temperatures have made driving in the Hanseatic city dangerous, with more snowfall predicted.

Ice cold and lots of snow: slippery roads and rail disruptions in Hamburg
Hamburg central station on Monday. Photo: DPA

It was still very cold across Germany on Tuesday morning due to a drop in temperatures and, particularly in the north, snow remained in many areas.

In Hamburg and the district of Ostholstein, Schleswig-Holstein, snowfall could continue throughout the day, with up to 30 centimetres predicted in some areas, according to Kent Heinemann from the Hamburg Institute for Weather and Climate Research.

“On Tuesday, stormy gusts of fresh snow and snow drifts may occur on the coasts. There could also be snowfall elsewhere,” Heinemann told NDR.

In Hamburg, road services had their hands full clearing away snow that had fallen on the previous day.

SEE ALSO: Coldest night of year has Germans shivering, from Hamburg to Bavaria

Since midnight, the city’s road clearance services have been operating 100 snow ploughs and at 1.45am an additional 800 relief forces and 250 vehicles were put into action, reported broadcaster NDR.

Main roads have already been cleared, but they will likely be cleared repeatedly throughout the day on Tuesday.

Dangerous conditions on roads which have been cleared of snow must be expected, Hamburg authorities warn. This applies in particular to residential and secondary roads as well as footpaths, which are not included in snow removal plans.

The icy conditions have meant that there were traffic jams on highways in and around Hamburg early on Tuesday , with 22 kilometres of tail back reported near the Elbe tunnel.

Police in Hamburg have reported about twelve weather-related accidents. “That's already quite a number,” a spokesperson told broadcaster NDR.

Meanwhile rail and bus passengers have seen disruptions due to the weather. The S2 suburban railway line has been cancelled until further notice due to a points failure. The U1 line between Ahrensburg-West and Großhansdorf is also currently out of service.

Rail passengers in Hamburg on Monday evening. Photo: DPA

S11 trains (in the direction of Poppenbüttel) are also now running via Landungsbrücken instead of Dammtor; passengers on the S3 and S31 lines have to change trains in Neugraben. 

Bus services in Stormarn, Lauenburg, Ratzeburg and Mölln have also been partly cancelled.

Air travel wasn’t seriously affected by the weather conditions, though. No flights were cancelled at Hamburg airport due to the snowfall. At Bremen airport some planes were diverted to Hanover airport on Monday night and a flight from London was cancelled.

The German Weather Service (DWD) has forecast the cold snap to last until Tuesday evening nationwide. On Wednesday and Thursday light snowfall is predicted for the Baltic Sea coast.

As meteorologists predicted last week, temperatures dropped drastically at the weekend and a cold snap had set in across much of the country.


Emergency numbers fail in several German states

Callers to the emergency numbers 110 and 112 weren’t able to reach operators Thursday morning in several German states.

The 112 emergency number on an ambulance.
The 112 emergency number on an ambulance. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Boris Roessler

The emergency number 110 for police and 112 for fire crews failed around the country early Thursday morning, with callers unable to reach emergency operators for urgent assistance between about 4:30 am and 5:40 am local time.

The Office for Civil Protection and Disaster Aid is looking into these outages, which were reported in states including Lower Saxony, Baden-Württemberg, and  Brandenburg, and in major cities like Berlin, Cologne, Hamburg, and Frankfurt. Cologne was further affected by cuts to electricity, drinking water, and regular telephone services. Lower Saxony also saw disruptions to the internal phone networks of police and hospitals.

Emergency services are not reporting any more disturbances and people should be able to once again reach 110 and 112 around the country as normal.

Investigators are looking into the problem, but haven’t yet established a cause or any consequences that may have happened due to the outage. Provider Deutsche Telekom says they have ruled out the possibility of an attack by hackers.