Icy Autobahn causes spate of crashes across Germany

Stormy weather has been causing major problems in Germany this week. And now slippery conditions on the road network are resulting in more misery.

Icy Autobahn causes spate of crashes across Germany
A police car on the closed Autobahn 45 near Siegen, North Rhine-Westphalia. Photo: DPA

Black ice resulted in several accidents and part of the Autobahn being closed on Tuesday night. Drivers have been urged to drive with caution.

In Baden-Württemberg, three people were seriously injured in a collision involving two cars. One of the cars drove into the opposite lane because of the road conditions, according to police.

In the north-east of Bavaria, several highways (A9, A72, A93) were affected by slippery roads and there were a spate of crashes.  In addition, several vehicles broke down in the hazardous conditions. Nobody was seriously injured.

In North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW), part of the Autobahn 45 near Siegen, had to be completely closed for several hours during the early hours of Wednesday.

As the slippery conditions happened so quickly, trucks became stuck on uphill roads, and other vehicles were unable to move forward, police reported. There were also several accidents in NRW although nobody was seriously injured.

In Schleswig-Holstein several accidents occurred on Autobahn 7 and Autobahn 23 north of Hamburg. Most resulted in damage to cars and there were no reports of serious injuries. Police said conditions were made worse due to heavy rain. 

A week of stormy weather

It comes after Germany – and other parts of Europe – was battered by storm Sabine at the start of the week.


Insurance broker Aon estimated that damages in Germany would total between €500 to €700 million. On Tuesday many places in Germany remained stormy.

According to Deutsche Bahn, trains are on the whole running again without problems, however there is still some disruption. In Baden-Württemberg some railway lines are still closed and in Bavaria the Werdenfelsbahn remains at a standstill.

The German Weather Service (DWD) expects windy and stormy weather to continue on Wednesday. In addition, more rain, snow and sleet showers are expected. In the evening the wind will likely decrease.


Black ice – (das) Glatteis

Accident – (der) Unfall

Car body damage/fender bender – (der) Blechschaden

Stormy weather – stürmisches Wetter

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What temperatures can we expect in Germany this week?

Parts of Germany will see another heatwave this week as temperatures soar.

What temperatures can we expect in Germany this week?

The German Weather Service (DWD) has predicted that the mercury will climb in some regions of to around 34C this week. 

“After low pressure ‘Karin’ gave parts of Germany rain, sometimes in large quantities, high pressure ‘Piet’ is now back in pole position,” said meteorologist Lars Kirchhübel of the DWD.

This high pressure zone will dominate the weather in large parts of western and central Europe over the coming days, the weather expert said, adding that it will reach Germany too. 

On Monday temperatures remained fairly cool across the country after a weekend of showers, but they are set to climb over the course of the week, particularly on Wednesday and Thursday. Forecasters predict it could reach 32C in Stuttgart and 33C in Cologne on Thursday. Locally, temperatures could reach 34C. 

However, from the Oder and Neisse rivers to the Erzgebirge mountains and southeast Bavaria, denser clouds and some showers are to be expected. This is due to a high-level low pressure system over the Balkan region, according to forecasters. Short showers are also possible in the Black Forest.

“In most of the rest of the country, high ‘Piet’ will be able to hold its ground,” said Kirchhübel.

READ ALSO: Heavy rain in Bavaria swells rivers, but flooding avoided

At the end of the week, thunderstorms are forecast but temperatures are expected to remain high. 

August in Germany ‘too dry’

According to the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts, August as a whole – apart from a few areas in eastern Germany – will be too dry compared to the multi-year average.

The Black Forest, the High Rhine and the Allgäu to the Bavarian Forest, however, are not expected to have any major problems due to the high rainfall of the past few days.

“Looking at Rhineland-Palatinate, the southern half of Hesse, the western half of North Rhine-Westphalia and Lower Franconia shows a different picture,” said Kirchhübel. In the last 30 days, only about 10 percent of the usual level of precipitation fell in some places.

“At some stations, no precipitation at all has been measured in August,” added Kirchhübel, referencing Würzburg as an example.

Rainfall at the weekend caused the water in the Rhine river to rise slightly. In Emmerich, the water level reached a positive value again after the historic low of the past few days: in the morning, it showed three centimetres – an increase of six centimetres compared to the previous day.

The water level also rose by several centimetres at the other measuring points in North Rhine-Westphalia: in Cologne, the level rose to 80cm and in Düsseldorf to 38cm.

READ ALSO: Damaged freighter blocks traffic at drought-hit Rhine

Despite this encouraging trend, the Waterways and Shipping Authority said it did not expect a huge improvement in water levels in the foreseeable future due to more hot weather coming.