Snowstorms and strong winds have caused major disruption to the transport network in parts of Germany, particularly in the North and West. Many trains had to be cancelled and hundreds of major road accidents occurred, with police reporting dozens of injuries and even a few fatalities suffered on icy roads.
Neuschwanstein castle, Bavaria. Photo: David Mark via Pixabay
Deutsche Bahn (DB) reported on Thursday that, due to extreme blizzards and temperatures as low as -20C in parts of Germany, several long-distance and regional rail services may be delayed or cancelled, as “vehicles and parts of the infrastructure such as switches and overhead lines are under particular strain.”
DB stated that, in particular, many trains travelling between Hamburg and Hannover, Berlin and the West were forced to cancel their trips, as snowdrifts had piled up on tracks and power lines had frozen.
Huge traffic jams caused chaos on the Autobahn in some regions with trucks and cars becoming stuck in deep snowdrifts on roads for several hours, sometimes overnight.
In the western city of Münster, the snowy weather conditions were so extreme that ambulances could no longer drive and all public transport was shut down, due to more than 30 centimetres of snow. Deutscher Wetterdienst (DWD) urged people in affected areas to stay at home and avoid unnecessary travel.
Additionally, many city authorities walked through the streets to bring homeless people sleeping outside into warm shelters, to ensure that people didn’t freeze to death amid the freezing, sub-zero temperatures.
Over the next week, temperatures are expected to rise above zero in most part of Germany, bringing an end to the icy and treacherous conditions.