9-year-old dies in heavy snow as weather danger continues in Bavaria

Severe weather led to the fatality of a nine-year-old boy yesterday near Munich. It also continues to cause traffic jams and avalanches.

9-year-old dies in heavy snow as weather danger continues in Bavaria
Traffic on Thursday on Autobahn 8, which connects Munich and Salzburg. Photo: DPA

Many roads are closed because of the snow masses and fallen trees, which pose a continual danger.

On Thursday, a nine-year-old boy was killed by a falling tree in Aying near Munich. The tree collapsed under the heavy snow load, police reported.

Only after 40 minutes did witnesses discover the boy buried under it and alert the rescue workers. They tried in vain to resuscitate the child for about an hour in the afternoon.

According to the police, the tree, about 10 meters tall, stood on a private property and fell onto an access road.

In the fight against the masses of snow in Bavaria, rescue forces hope for better weather on Friday. According to forecasts from the German Weather Service (DWD), the snowfall is expected to decrease temporarily. Yet DWD advised drivers in snowy parts of Germany to take caution when driving on icy roads.

Heavy traffic jams

It is still unclear when train traffic in southern and eastern Bavaria will resume everywhere. As many trains can no longer get through the snow-covered tracks, lots of connections have been interrupted.

Throughout Bavaria, the fire brigade, the technical relief organizations and other helpers are on constant duty in order to free up roofs that are in danger of collapsing from snow loads.

A man walks along the snow-covered street of Berchtesgaden near the Austrian border. Photo: DPA 

Due to a closure of the Autobahn 8 at Lake Chiemsee in the Rosenheim district, numerous people have been stuck in traffic jams since Thursday evening, sometimes with heavy snowfall.

The Bavarian Red Cross set up care bases, in which helpers were to clear the traffic jam and take care of people. Even in the early hours of the morning, police could not give the all-clear.

A disaster zone along the Austrian border

Hundreds of people are trapped in the Berchtesgaden area on the Austrian border because access roads are closed, reported DPA on Friday morning.

On Thursday, the authorities declared a disaster for parts of the Berchtesgadener Land district, the Traunstein district and the Bad Tölz-Wolfratshausen district. The disaster also applies in the district of Miesbach.

A snow vehicle drives through Berchtesgaden on early Friday morning. Photo: DPA

In the Miesbach and Berchtesgaden area, the Bundeswehr has already been deployed and cleared roofs. Further forces including mountain troops, the air force, the armed forces and the medical service are in increased readiness, a spokesman for the Bavarian state command announced on Friday.

An increasing number of schoolchildren in Upper Bavaria and Swabia have not been able to attend attending classes this Friday. According to the authorities, the way to school was too dangerous for the children and young people.

Caution advised when entering the forests or mountains

Entering snow-covered forests in southern Germany can currently be an acute danger to life, the Association of German Forest Owners Associations told the “Bild” newspaper.

According to experts, however, the danger of avalanches has decreased in large parts of the Bavarian Alps.

SEE ALSO: Germany raises avalanche alert after skiier deaths

On Friday, the Bavarian Avalanche Warning Service in Munich classified the danger as great only for the Berchtesgaden Alps, which is the second highest of five danger levels. 

For the rest of the Alpine region, the danger is considerable, warning level 3. In the past few days, the experts had assumed that there was a great danger of avalanches throughout the region, which corresponds to level 4.

However, they continued to warn: “Due to the possible long ranges of avalanches, activities in the mountains at present require special caution and a carefully considered choice of route.”

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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?