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Icy weather causes accidents in Germany as cold spell set to end

Shortly before the end of the cold spell in Germany, there have been numerous weather-related accidents, especially in the northern half of the country.

Icy weather causes accidents in Germany as cold spell set to end
Cars on the icy roads on early Tuesday morning in Laatzen, Lower Saxony. Photo: DPA

In Lower Saxony, there has been “a massive number of traffic accidents in a very short time” since the evening, especially in the district of Göttingen, a police spokesman said on Tuesday morning. 

Sixteen cars were involved in a total of 10 accidents, he said, and two people were slightly injured.

READ ALSO: When was Germany's coldest winter?

Following pouring rain on Monday afternoon, roads again became slippery, and Autobahn 7 near Göttingen was closed twice in both directions in the evening.

On the roads of Schleswig-Holstein, there have been dozens of accidents in snow and icy conditions.

An icy pier in Kiel, Schleswig-Holstein on early Tuesday morning. Photo: DPA

In Lübeck and the districts of Ostholstein, Herzogtum Lauenburg and Stormarn, police were called to more than 40 weather-related incidents in the evening and early morning, a police spokeswoman said. 

Some cars slid into a ditch or ran off the road, she said. A common problem was people driving with the “wrong tires”.

A total of six people were injured in the weather-related accidents there, she said.

In the Oberhavel district of Brandenburg, a police officer was injured in a car accident on the A10. He had removed barriers in the evening after a slippery road accident and was hit by the car.

Fatal ice skating accident in southern Germany

Everywhere in the country it remains dangerous to step on icy surfaces and waterways: a 29-year-old man died in hospital a few hours after he collapsed while skating on a frozen pond in Baden-Württemberg, a police spokesman said Tuesday.

The young man was skating about 50 metres from shore on the pond near Ravensburg on Monday afternoon when the ice gave way beneath him. A 60-year-old man tried to help the young man and collapsed himself.

Passers-by pulled the injured helper to shore. The 29-year-old was first pulled out of the water by a diver from the German Life-Saving Association (DLRG) and then taken to a hospital.

Local transport stops

In Kiel, Schleswig-Holstein, the transport company completely stopped service. Early Tuesday morning, operations gradually resumed service.

Magdeburg's public transport company also temporarily suspended operations on Monday evening. Freezing rain had made the roads slippery as glass, the transport companies in Saxony-Anhalt's capital announced. 

In addition, the overhead lines of the streetcars were covered with a layer of ice within a few minutes.

Weather in the next days

Germany’s cold spell, which has seen temperatures in parts of the country over the past week dip to below -20C, is coming to an end.

READ ALSO: Why Germany is facing extreme winter weather this month

Temperatures are expected to climb higher throughout the week. By this Sunday, the Mercury in Berlin, Frankfurt and Munich is expected to read 13C, and 17C in Cologne.

For the east and southeast, some snowfall was still expected for early Tuesday, which should quickly turn into rain and subside during the morning.

This is caused by a strong Atlantic weather front, which is gradually bringing warmer sea air, according to the German Weather Service (DWD).

Temperatures well above freezing will also bring rain to Berlin and Brandenburg, which are still covered in snow.

A Berlin bench near the Brandenburg Gate was covered with fresh snow on early Tuesday morning. Photo: DPA

As DWD announced Tuesday morning, there will be intermittent drizzle or rain in the region throughout the day. 

According to the meteorologists, temperatures will climb up to 8C on Tuesday.

There are also warnings of slippery conditions for some regions in the southern half of the country, such as the south of Bavaria.

Here, freezing rain or drizzle is to be expected in some areas, according to DWD. Black ice could occur. 

In the course of the day, however, it will be significantly milder, with 3C in the eastern low mountain ranges and 11C in the western foothills of the Alps.

 

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WEATHER

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?

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