Heavy snowfall and freezing rain cause flight, train cancellations across Germany
BERLIN (AP) — Heavy snowfall and freezing rain across Germany on Wednesday caused the cancellation of hundreds of flights and trains, crashes on icy roads and school closures.
At Frankfurt airport, Germany’s biggest, more than 500 flights were cancelled, while in Munich over 250 arrivals and departures were cancelled. In western Germany, Saarbruecken airport closed for the day, and Duesseldorf and Cologne/Bonn airports were also affected by delays and cancellations.
National train operator Deutsche Bahn cancelled several long-distance trains and announced that the maximum speed of its fast ICE train would be limited to 200 kilometres per hour (124 miles per hour) due to the extreme weather.
The freezing rain across western and southern Germany also led to many accidents on icy roads in the early morning hours of Wednesday. As a precaution, many schools and kindergartens closed for the day and some companies offered their employees the option of working from home.
The German Weather Service warned of a very high risk of icy roads due to freezing rain in a region including the city of Trier in the west and Frankfurt in the centre of the country.
In the states of Rhineland-Palatinate, Hesse and Baden-Wuerttemberg, it said there was a “great danger to life and limb due to freezing rain with heavy ice accumulation; widespread ice breakage.” People living in the regions were asked to avoid driving and stay inside if possible.
North of Germany, the Scandinavian countries were also hit by the cold winter weather.
Heavy snowfall brought traffic to a standstill in large areas, with roads and highways clogged with stranded motorists, public transportation delays, cancellations of some ferry lines, and the closure of some bridges. Police in several parts of Denmark urged people to stay home.
The airport in Oslo, Norway, said that “due to heavy snowfall in the Oslo area, there are delays and cancellations with public transportation to and from Oslo airport. If you are going to travel, allow plenty of time to get to the airport and follow the information from your airline.”