Heavy snow paralyses parts of southern Germany

Published December 3, 2023
PEDESTRIANS walk on a footpath buried under inches of snow in Munich, on Saturday.—Reuters
PEDESTRIANS walk on a footpath buried under inches of snow in Munich, on Saturday.—Reuters

MUNICH: Heavy snowfall brought chaos to parts of southern Germany on Saturday, with air and rail traffic blocked in the Bavarian state capital of Munich.

The heavy snowfall prompted an all-day cancellation of flights and long-distance trains out of Munich, with Christmas markets closed, some ski lifts unable to run and a football match called off as the city battled with the icy conditions.

Flights were not scheduled to depart or arrive at Munich airport until at least 6am on Sunday according to a statement on its website.

“Everything is closed. Online doesn’t work. Well, you have to be patient… there’s nothing you can do,” Magda Shokosa, a stranded passenger at Munich Airport, said.

“We had to dig our way into the car park with shovels and then take a taxi because the buses weren’t running,” said another passenger, Brigitte Schloessel.

Trains could not arrive at Munich’s central train station, Deutsche Bahn said on its website. The halt was expected to last all day, it added, with considerable delays expected until Monday. Local media reported numerous transport accidents and traffic jams on icy roads, with the German Weather Service estimating 30-40cm of snow would fall by Saturday evening.

A Bundesliga match between Bayern Munich and Union Berlin was also postponed due to the heavy snowfall.

Still, some Munich residents were cheerier about the wintry atmosphere created by the snowfall, with parents pulling their children along on sleds.

“Finally snow again. I think it’s great because it’s a bit quieter. It’s a nicer atmosphere overall,” said Friedrich Zeller as he walked through the snowy streets.

Authorities asked residents to stay home while police in Lower Bavaria said five people were slightly injured in car accidents.

Much of Germany has been subject to snow and freezing temperatures for several days. According to weather forecasts, the largest quantities of snow are expected on Saturday in Allgau in the south of Bavaria, with another 30 to 40 centimetres.

Published in Dawn, December 3rd, 2023

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