The onset of winter has caused considerable danger and damage to the roads in several federal states. There were a number of slippery-related accidents, and there were restrictions on road traffic, especially at higher altitudes.
The situation came to a head in the evening in the Rheingau-Taunus district of Hesse. According to the fire department, numerous drivers were stuck in their vehicles or had to be rescued from their cars. “The situation is extraordinary,” said district fire chief Michael Ehresmann of the German Press Agency. "Trees fall like matchsticks."
The fire brigades have been in operation in the district area since midday, sometimes continuously. The Rheingau-Taunus district has set up a management team to coordinate the storm situation centrally, the district administration said.
On the road between Kiedrich and Hausen vor der Höhe, around 30 vehicles were still trapped in the snow in the evening. Around 100 people who had to be rescued from their vehicles near Eltville because of falling trees were accommodated and cared for in a hall on a nearby factory site, as the district fire chief reported. But then the power went out. The emergency services would take care of the people.
Fire department: “There is a danger to life”
Around 30 students were stuck in the NAO school in Bad Schwalbach near Wiesbaden that evening. They could not be picked up by their parents and buses were no longer running, explained the district fire chief. They would also be looked after by the emergency services.
The fire department called on everyone in the district to avoid driving. “The goals are unlikely to be achievable and life is in danger,” warned the fire department. Road closures should be strictly observed and not carelessly avoided.
There were also severe disruptions elsewhere in the Taunus on Monday, as a spokesman for the West Hesse police headquarters in Wiesbaden said. Vehicles, including trucks, were parked across the streets, making it difficult to get through in some places. According to the police, Hochtaunus was particularly affected.
A 54-year-old driver died on Monday when two cars collided near Denzerheide in Rhineland-Palatinate. The 69-year-old driver of the other car was taken to hospital with serious injuries. According to the police's initial findings, the woman's car swerved to the side on the snow-covered road on the B49 and collided with the oncoming car. In Saarland, the police warned of slippery roads, broken trees and broken down vehicles.