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Icy weather causes accidents in Germany as cold spell set to end

Shortly before the end of the cold spell in Germany, there have been numerous weather-related accidents, especially in the northern half of the country.

Icy weather causes accidents in Germany as cold spell set to end
Cars on the icy roads on early Tuesday morning in Laatzen, Lower Saxony. Photo: DPA

In Lower Saxony, there has been “a massive number of traffic accidents in a very short time” since the evening, especially in the district of Göttingen, a police spokesman said on Tuesday morning. 

Sixteen cars were involved in a total of 10 accidents, he said, and two people were slightly injured.

READ ALSO: When was Germany's coldest winter?

Following pouring rain on Monday afternoon, roads again became slippery, and Autobahn 7 near Göttingen was closed twice in both directions in the evening.

On the roads of Schleswig-Holstein, there have been dozens of accidents in snow and icy conditions.

An icy pier in Kiel, Schleswig-Holstein on early Tuesday morning. Photo: DPA

In Lübeck and the districts of Ostholstein, Herzogtum Lauenburg and Stormarn, police were called to more than 40 weather-related incidents in the evening and early morning, a police spokeswoman said. 

Some cars slid into a ditch or ran off the road, she said. A common problem was people driving with the “wrong tires”.

A total of six people were injured in the weather-related accidents there, she said.

In the Oberhavel district of Brandenburg, a police officer was injured in a car accident on the A10. He had removed barriers in the evening after a slippery road accident and was hit by the car.

Fatal ice skating accident in southern Germany

Everywhere in the country it remains dangerous to step on icy surfaces and waterways: a 29-year-old man died in hospital a few hours after he collapsed while skating on a frozen pond in Baden-Württemberg, a police spokesman said Tuesday.

The young man was skating about 50 metres from shore on the pond near Ravensburg on Monday afternoon when the ice gave way beneath him. A 60-year-old man tried to help the young man and collapsed himself.

Passers-by pulled the injured helper to shore. The 29-year-old was first pulled out of the water by a diver from the German Life-Saving Association (DLRG) and then taken to a hospital.

Local transport stops

In Kiel, Schleswig-Holstein, the transport company completely stopped service. Early Tuesday morning, operations gradually resumed service.

Magdeburg's public transport company also temporarily suspended operations on Monday evening. Freezing rain had made the roads slippery as glass, the transport companies in Saxony-Anhalt's capital announced. 

In addition, the overhead lines of the streetcars were covered with a layer of ice within a few minutes.

Weather in the next days

Germany’s cold spell, which has seen temperatures in parts of the country over the past week dip to below -20C, is coming to an end.

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

Temperatures are expected to climb higher throughout the week. By this Sunday, the Mercury in Berlin, Frankfurt and Munich is expected to read 13C, and 17C in Cologne.

For the east and southeast, some snowfall was still expected for early Tuesday, which should quickly turn into rain and subside during the morning.

This is caused by a strong Atlantic weather front, which is gradually bringing warmer sea air, according to the German Weather Service (DWD).

Temperatures well above freezing will also bring rain to Berlin and Brandenburg, which are still covered in snow.

A Berlin bench near the Brandenburg Gate was covered with fresh snow on early Tuesday morning. Photo: DPA

As DWD announced Tuesday morning, there will be intermittent drizzle or rain in the region throughout the day. 

According to the meteorologists, temperatures will climb up to 8C on Tuesday.

There are also warnings of slippery conditions for some regions in the southern half of the country, such as the south of Bavaria.

Here, freezing rain or drizzle is to be expected in some areas, according to DWD. Black ice could occur. 

In the course of the day, however, it will be significantly milder, with 3C in the eastern low mountain ranges and 11C in the western foothills of the Alps.

 

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WEATHER

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.

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