Germany grapples with temperatures as low as -26.7C

Bitter cold with extreme lows - the winter weather continues to have Germany in its grip. But road conditions improved Wednesday morning amid lighter snowfall.

Germany grapples with temperatures as low as -26.7C
Snow in Jena, Thuringia on Wednesday morning. Photo: DPA

On early Wednesday morning, the eastern state of Thuringia recorded the coldest temperatures in all of Germany, according to the German Weather Service (DWD).

Mühlhausen clocked in the coldest temperature with -26.7C, followed by Olbersleben with -26C and Dachwig with -25.7C.

According to the DWD, however, these temperatures are still a long way from the coldest temperatures ever measured in Germany.

The record is held by Hüll, Bavaria, which recorded a temperature of -37.8C in 1929.

The following graph from DWD shows the 'cold spots' in Thuringia.

How is the weather affecting train and car traffic?

As of Wednesday morning, there were still problems with train traffic in Germany. 

“Today and in the next few days travellers in many parts of the country must expect significant restrictions in local and long-distance traffic due to the weather,” said a spokeswoman for Deutsche Bahn.

However, while Monday and Tuesday brought traffic chaos to German Autobahns, the situation appeared to have calmed down slightly around the country on Wednesday morning.

Cars on snowy roads in Stuttgart on Wednesday morning. Photo: DPA

According to a police spokesman, traffic on the A2 near Bielefeld – which was hit particularly hard by the storms – was moving on Wednesday morning. 

At present, however, there was still a “latent danger situation” due to trucks parked on the hard shoulder because the drivers had to observe their rest periods – and were asleep.

READ ALSO: Hundreds of drivers spend night on Autobahn as snow chaos continues

In other states, police stations reported isolated accidents due to slippery black ice on the roads.

In Schleswig-Holstein, the A7 in the Rendsburg-Eckernförde district was temporarily completely closed in the direction of Hamburg after a snowplow caught fire. 

In Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, the police did not have any accident reports for the coastal regions. In Thuringia, a police spokesman also expressed relief that the situation had improved.

“We are happy that it has not snowed again,” he said.

Slightly warmer temperatures

Although there is slated to be less snowfall for the remainder of the week around Germany, temperatures will remain icy cold.

“The weather front ‘Gisela’ means that northern and northeastern Germany will experience widespread frosty temperatures during the day and at night for severe frosts around -20 degrees,” explained DWD meteorologist Jens Bonewitz. 

In Berlin daytime temperatures from Thursday through the weekend, will hover around -1C or -2C – an improvement from earlier this week when they dropped to as low as -10C.

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

From Thursday onwards – unlike earlier this week – the cold air will also drift to the south of Germany. Between Thursday and Saturday, daytime temperatures in Munich will range between -6C and -3C.

They reached a high of 12C last week as the south of Germany enjoyed mild Mercury readings. 

Traffic in Bielefeld, where temperatures were -10C, on Wednesday morning. Photo: DPA

‘Calming down’

German Transport Minister Andreas Scheuer (CDU) said he expected more disruptions due to the extreme winter weather. 

“In many regions of Germany, the situation is gradually beginning to calm down. However, it may take some time before everything returns to its normal course,” he said. “Impairments remain in some stretches and areas.”

Inland shipping is also affected by the winter weather: From Wednesday evening, the Mittelland Canal – the largest in artificial waterway in Germany, and the Elbe-Seitenkanal are slated to remain closed.

Meanwhile, aid organisations stepped up their efforts to help the homeless, providing them in many places with warm food, drinks, clothing, sleeping clothes and hygiene items. 

The coronavirus pandemic is further exacerbating the situation for those in need, according to Diakonie, the welfare organization of the Protestant churches.

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Tornado in western Germany injures dozens

Almost 40 people were injured, several seriously, on Friday in a suspected tornado which hit the western German city of Paderborn, the police and fire brigade said.

Tornado in western Germany injures dozens

A police spokesman said the tornado also caused significant damage in the city in the North Rhine-Westphalia state, following abnormally high temperatures for the time of year.

The city’s fire department said on Twitter that “38 injured people, including some gravely” had been taken to hospital. The police said one person was fighting for their life.

Paderborn, fire service added, “Please do not drive to Paderborn on your own without prior agreement of help. If necessary, further units of the fire brigade will be alerted and called in.”

In neighbouring Rhineland-Palatinate state, a 38-year-old man died after he was electrocuted when he entered his flooded basement and fell on his head, the police in the city of Koblenz said.

Railway travel was disrupted in the west of the country, as police called on people to remain indoors.

In Paderborn, police estimated the damage caused by the tornado at “several million” euros.

The spokesman reported “roofs torn off, windows shattered and numerous trees uprooted throughout the city”.

View of destroyed cars on a street. A tornado caused massive damage in Paderborn and Lippstadt on Friday 20th May 2022.

View of destroyed cars on a street after a tornado caused massive damage in Paderborn and Lippstadt on Friday 20th May 2022. Photo: Picture Alliance/Dpa/Friso Gentsch

Images posted on social media showed the tornado column progressing towards homes, sweeping away trees and building sections. Other pictures from the wider region showed cars that had been upturned.

The town of Lippstadt, about 30 kilometres away (18 miles), was also probably hit by a tornado, a fire department spokesperson said, though no injuries had been recorded. The steeple of the church in Lippstadt had been destroyed by the high winds.

People stand in front of the St. Clemens Catholic Church in Hellinghausen near Lippstadt, the top of which was destroyed. A suspected tornado caused massive damage in Lippstadt on Friday 21st May 2022. Photo: Picture alliance/DPA/Friso Gentsch

German meteorological services had put out a storm warning for Friday and predicted gales of up to 130 km/h (80 miles/h) in some places.

The bad weather first hit the west of the country and was set to travel eastwards.