Heavy snows hit southern Germany, flights in Munich canceled

Saturday, 2 December 2023 (12:47 IST)
Heavy snowfalls hit southern Germany and particularly Bavaria on Friday night, causing major disruptions at Munich Airport, the second-busiest hub in the country.

An airport spokesman told the dpa news agency that around 160 flights could not take off or land. Crews were scrambling to keep a minimum of one runway in service and free of snow.

Germany's DWD weather service forecasted prolonged snows through Saturday afternoon for much of Bavaria, with as much as 30-40 centimeters (roughly 12-15 inches) of snow expected in places, "a large portion of that within a period of 12 hours overnight into Saturday."The airport was expecting further delays as a result, the spokesman said.

At the time of writing, roughly half of the departures and arrivals scheduled for early Saturday morning were labeled as canceled on the airport's website. "Check your flight status with your airline," the site advised passengers.

Munich public transport severely impacted, fire trucks fit snow chains

Most local bus and tram services were canceled on Friday evening in Munich as the road conditions worsened.

The city's fire service shared pictures on social media earlier in the day of firefighters fitting a fire truck with snow chains "so that we can come to you as safely as possible at any time."

Football journalist Archie Rhind-Tutt, who had spent the week on assignment in Helsinki, Finland, noted his surprise on returning to yet more wintery weather in Munich to cover Bayern Munich's game against Union Berlin on Saturday afternoon.

Comparable weather was reported in nearby Bavarian cities like Augsburg.

Early start for the snows, Zugspitze ski slopes already open

Friday's heavy snows capped a week full of indications of a comparatively early start by recent standards for cold, wintery weather across Germany.

The ski slopes on Germany's highest mountain, the Zugspitze, on the border to Austria in the Bavarian Alps, opened on Friday, the earliest start for the German ski season in years amid warmer recent winters.

A spokeswoman for the slope said the roughly 2 meters of snow was the most present on the mountain at the start of the ski season since 2007.

Authorities on Friday reported dozens of overnight road traffic accidents in slippery conditions across southern Germany, including one mass-collision on a highway in the southwest with seven injuries, four of them severe.

Snow also fell in Berlin midweek, while most of the country either recorded some light snowfall or at least freezing temperatures.

For Saturday, sunshine was only forecast for parts of northern Germany. Freezing or slightly sub-zero temperatures were expected for most of the country, with the chances of further snowfall higher in the south.(dpa, German media)

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