Travel chaos as autumn storm lashes Germany

DPA/The Local
DPA/The Local - [email protected] • 30 Sep, 2019 Updated Mon 30 Sep 2019 10:29 CEST
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Commuters faced major transport disruption on Monday as a storm hit northern Germany.

The storm, dubbed “Mortimer”, has resulted in fallen trees, and flooding hitting the long-distance rail network in particular. 

Rail operator Deutsche Bahn closed some lines early on Monday morning in north Germany as a precaution. 

The lines between Hamburg - Hannover, Hamburg - Bremen, Bremen - Hannover as well as Hannover - Göttingen were open again from around 9am, Deutsche Bahn (DB) said.

In a tweet, DB urged passengers to be patient and said delays and cancellations should be expected, even on lines that had reopened. 

The Hamburg - Berlin, Hanover - Wolfsburg - Berlin and Wolfsburg - Braunschweig - Hildesheim - Göttingen long-distance train tracks remained closed. There are currently no major disruptions in regional traffic but those travelling by train are urged to check for updates. 

In Lower Saxony, a tree crashed into an overhead line on Monday morning, causing  major problems. A high-speed train collided with the accident site.

READ ALSO: Fierce storm causes travel chaos in Germany

Train displays in Hamburg alerted passengers about storm disruption. Photo: DPA

Luckily, no one was injured but passengers were stranded in the train for some time as investigators tried to find out if there was electricity flowing through the broken overhead line.

Animals saved in rescue operation

During the night storm "Mortimer" caused minor damage across the country.

An unusual rescue operation took place in Dortmund, western Germany. Heavy rainfall flooded an area with around 300 farm animals. The fire brigade deployed a lifeboat and attempted to build footbridges to save the animals from drowning, a spokesman for the emergency services said early on Monday morning. 

Firefighters rescuing sheep. Photo: DPA

By 2am., 200 animals had been rescued from the field. According to a DPA photographer, the meadow was one and a half to two meters under water. Several animals, including lambs, died in the incident. There were 120 firefighters at the scene. 

On Monday, bosses at the Harz National Park warned against entering the forests in the mountain range. Trees could fall at any time, said spokesman Friedhart Knolle. 

According to the DWD in Leipzig, wind speeds of almost 145 km per hour on the highest mountain of the range were measured.

People were also warned about entering forest areas in Lower Saxony due to the possibility of falling trees and branches.

More storm disruption

Forecasters said the storm would continue – and worsen – in some parts of Germany over the course of the day.

"In the north and northeast, the worst is not yet over," said a spokesman for the German Weather Service (DWD). 

From the Baltic Sea to the Erzgebirge mountain region, it was due to be stormy all day. Rain and wind speeds of up to 110 km per hour were forecast.



DPA/The Local 2019/09/30 10:29

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