Snow causes German travel woes

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Heavy snow combined with high winds has caused at least three deaths, with major travel disruption throughout much of Germany. Several motorways were closed, with long traffic jams on many others. As flights were delayed and rail travel cancelled, the police of North Rhine-Westphalia recorded over three hundred accidents, with a total of 42 injured people, during Friday night and into Saturday, with one death as a result of a man stepping out of his car and into the path of another after a motorway accident.

Cars were abandoned, and even the gritters were stranded. In the north of Germany, as much as 25cm of snow immobilised the transport network whilst police and other emergency services struggled to cope. Football matches have been cancelled across the entire nation, and ferry services to the Baltic Sea islands cancelled, with at least one completely cut off.

The Alster Lake in Hamburg froze over, prompting hundreds of citizens to skate across it, in what meteorologists say happens just once a decade.