Weather: Parts of Germany to see up to 40 cm of snow as temperatures dip

A storm named 'Dimitrious' came to Germany this week, leading to intense snowfall in parts of the country. The weather is expected to be calmer, albeit colder, in the coming days.

Weather: Parts of Germany to see up to 40 cm of snow as temperatures dip
Drivers moved slowly over snow and ice covered roads in Bielefeld, North Rhine-Westphalia, on Wednesday. Photo: DPA

The storm caused traffic chaos in some parts of Germany in the early hours of Wednesday.

In northern Lower Saxony, a section of highway was closed due to several black ice accidents, and in the south and west there were numerous traffic jams and delays due to broken down vehicles. 

By early Wednesday morning, at least one person had died in accidents and several were seriously injured. However, there were mostly minor accidents causing car damage and non-serious injuries, according to regional police departments.

Fresh snow in Stolberg, Saxony-Anhalt on Wednesday. Photo: DPA

The weather was expected to remain wintry during the day on Wednesday, according to the German Weather Service (DWD).

In the evening the storm is set to weaken, but will bring a lot of rain, reported DWD. Residents of northern and eastern Germany will see a mix of snow and sleet, and also possibly thunderstorms during the night. 

Those in southern Germany will want to put on those snow boots if they head outdoors: areas stretching from the Black Forest to the Alps will experience heavy snowfall until at least Friday morning. 

Within this period, snowfall of 10 cm is expected in the Upper Black Forest. In the Alps and Alpine foothills up to 20 to 30 cm of snow could fall, and as much as 40 cm is expected in the Upper Allgäu and the Werdenfelser Land.

A dog plays in fresh snow in Garmisch-Parternkirchen, Bavaria, on Wednesday. Photo: DPA

Yet the rest of the country is likely to see dry and sunny weather for the remainder of the week, with some lighter snow showers in the east.

Still, the country will remain bitterly cold with highs between 0 and 4C during the day, and with lows of at least -2C at night, including in Berlin, Hamburg and Frankfurt.

From Friday to Sunday, frost is to be expected in many places during the day, with some rainfall. The sun is set to emerge in most places, though (fingers crossed for that).


sleet – (die) Graupel 

rainfall/precipitation – (der) Niederschlag 

thunderstorm – (das) Gewitter

snow showers – (die) Schneeschauer

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Damaged freighter blocks traffic at drought-hit Rhine

A stranded cargo ship caused traffic to be halted Wednesday at the Rhine river in western Germany after suffering a technical fault, authorities said, at a time when water transport was already ailing from a drought.

Damaged freighter blocks traffic at drought-hit Rhine

The vessel is stuck at St. Goar and Oberwesel, in between the cities of Mainz and Koblenz, water police said, adding that they were expecting to clear the stricken ship within the day.

The machine damage came as water levels in the Rhine had dropped to critical points at several locations, including at nearby Kaub — a known bottleneck for shipping where the river runs narrow and shallow.

The gauge at Kaub stood at 34 cm (13 inches) on Wednesday, well below the 40-cm reference point.

While vessels are still able to navigate at low water levels, they are forced to reduce their loads to avoid the risk of running aground.

About four percent of freight is transported on waterways in Germany, including on the Rhine, which originates in Switzerland and runs through several countries including France and Germany before flowing into the sea in the Netherlands.

READ ALSO: How the Rhine’s low water levels are impacting Germany

Transport on the Rhine has gained significance in recent months because among cargo moved on the river is coal, now all the more necessary as Germany seeks to wean itself off Russian gas.

Germany’s biggest companies have already warned that major disruptions to river traffic could deal another blow to an economy already beset by logistical difficulties.

The 2018 drought, which saw the benchmark depth of the Rhine in Kaub drop to 25 cm in October, shrank German GDP by 0.2 percent that year, according to Deutsche Bank Research.