Germany on alert as snowfall and storms batter the country

Germany on alert as snowfall and storms batter the country
A truck clears snow at Spitzingsee in Bavaria on Tuesday. Photo: DPA
Germany is on alert for stormy weather as gale-force winds and snow hit the country.

The German Weather Service (DWD) issued a warning Tuesday for most parts of Germany, with forecasts of strong gusts, rain and snow.

Meteorologists said the storm, dubbed Benjamin, had been travelling from the North Sea across the Baltic Sea to Poland during the course of the day.

It came as some schools in Bavaria remained closed as the south of Germany battled extreme snowfall, and snow showers are moving northwards.

On Tuesday red alert weather warnings were due to be in place until Friday morning in 27 districts in the south of Germany, due to massive snowfall reported Focus Online.

In the Bavarian Alps there is also an increased risk of avalanches. Bild reported that the Brauneck ski area near Lenggries had to be closed because there was too much snow.

As we reported on Monday, the Bavarian avalanche warning service said it had boosted the alert level to four on a scale of five, warning of a “great danger of avalanches in the mountain range” following deaths. 

SEE ALSO: Germany raises avalanche alert after ski deaths

Forecasters say it's likely snowfall in southern Bavaria will continue over the coming days.

Strong gusts

The storm was expected to hit parts of the coasts of Lower Saxony and Schleswig-Holstein as well as in Hamburg, Bremen and Bremerhaven. A warning of high winds was also in place for the capital Berlin.

An orange weather warning was in place for much of the country due to strong winds and rain, which may also turn to snow.

The DWD said gusts of up to 85 km/h could be expected in Berlin, according to the Berliner Morgenpost.

In the Marzahn area of the city at noon, parts of the facade of a high rise building came loose. People have been warned to look out for falling branches and similar dangers. 

Fire and rescue crews arrived to secure the building in Marzahn. Nobody was injured, the Morgenpost reported.

A woman with an umbrella in Berlin on Tuesday. Photo: DPA

Train operator Deutsche Bahn warned of possible disruption due to the unpredictable weather and urged passengers to check for information before they travel.

After a warning from the Federal Maritime and Hydrographic Agency, residents living near the North Sea and Baltic Sea coasts prepared for the storm.

On Tuesday, ferry services were disrupted due to the weather. In Lower Saxony all ferries to and from Wangerooge were due to be cancelled. The connection between Cuxhaven and the island of Helgoland was also stopped.

Meanwhile, in Hamburg, and other northern cities and towns, authorities were braced for the possibility of flooding as rain continued to fall amid high winds. 

Water floods an area at Willy-Brandt-Platz in Bremerhaven. Photo: DPA

More snow expected

As well as the southern part of Germany, snow was expected in other regions in the coming days. In the capital Berlin snowfall was expected from around 7 p.m. Tuesday. 

At the top of Brocken in Saxony-Anhalt, the highest mountain in Northern Germany which stands at 1141 meters, there was more than 75 centimeters of snow, a local weather station said on Tuesday morning. More snow is expected in Saxony-Anhalt.

Snowfall is also expected in the Black Forest in Badem-Württemberg and the Ore Mountains in Saxony. There will also likely be snow in the lowlands of Saxony as well as other locations. 

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