Dangerous black ice haunts large parts of Germany at the start of the week before Christmas. The German Weather Service (DWD) issued severe weather warnings for parts of all federal states on Monday morning. Traffic obstructions are possible due to black ice, and roads and rails could even be impassable in places, it said.
According to the forecast, the foothills of a low south of Iceland will first spread to the west and then to the east of Germany over the course of Monday. "Black ice rain occurs. Then milder air gradually prevails," said the DWD.
Train runs slower because of freezing rain
Due to freezing rain and ice formation, Deutsche Bahn trains are also traveling more slowly. Until further notice, the maximum speed of the trains has been reduced, the company informed its passengers. "Please expect delays."
In addition, the railway asked for particular caution when boarding and alighting as well as while staying on the platforms, which are currently icy in many places. "Clearance workers are on their way."
Because the ground is frozen to a depth of more than 20 centimeters, the black ice situation can last for a long time. "The mitigation has now largely prevailed in western North Rhine-Westphalia, where the black ice situation is increasingly easing."
Temperatures will rise a bit this week. With the mild air comes rain, which makes the frozen ground slippery. "The center and the north are reached in the morning - of all things when the rush-hour traffic rolls on," said Sonja Stöckle from the DWD weather forecast center.
Motorist dies in black ice accident
In the morning there were numerous accidents in Lower Saxony and Bremen. A 25-year-old driver was killed in an accident on Autobahn 27 near Walsrode-Hamwiede in the early morning. A spokesman for the Langwedel Autobahn Police said in the morning that the car had left the road due to slippery roads. After the accident, the freeway was first full and then partially blocked until the morning.
There were numerous accidents in the city and region of Hanover in the early morning, with no one being injured and only body damage, as a spokeswoman for the Hanover police said. There are similar conditions in Oldenburg, Bremen, Osnabrück and Emsland, according to the local police authorities.
Accidents happened in some places during the night. Four people were injured in a collision between two cars on a snow-covered road near Gaggenau (Rastatt district). A 34-year-old driver was trapped in the impact and had to be freed from the car by rescue workers.
In Rhineland-Palatinate, there were accidents in the Rhein-Lahn district with two minor injuries. In the district of Warendorf in North Rhine-Westphalia, the police counted seven weather-related accidents with property damage between midnight and 3 a.m. One fears more accidents in the morning hours. "Perhaps one or the other can postpone their departure time a bit, at least until the gritting services are over," said a spokesman.
"Danger of ice with potential danger"
The weather service has already issued official severe weather warnings for many regions in Germany. "There is a risk of ice with a potential hazard from freezing rain," it says.
In view of this, the DWD advises avoiding being outdoors as much as possible. Anyone who has to be out and about by car on Monday should adjust their driving style on the road. In addition, the DWD advises motorists to fill up their tanks and take blankets and warm drinks with them. Significant traffic delays must be expected in both road and rail traffic.
Classes are canceled at some schools
There are also consequences for schools, for example in Lower Saxony: In several districts and cities, classes will be canceled on Monday due to the "expected extreme weather conditions" at all general and vocational schools.
This was announced by the districts of Celle, Hameln-Pyrmont, County of Bentheim, Leer, Osterholz, Stade, Wittmund and Vechta as well as the cities of Delmenhorst, Hildesheim and Wolfsburg - as well as the city and district of Osnabrück. In the city and district of Göttingen, there are no classes at primary and secondary schools, but not at vocational schools.
Black ice causes flight cancellations at Frankfurt Airport
The weather also disrupts the processes at Germany's largest airport in Frankfurt. In view of the weather conditions, there are delays in operations and flight cancellations, the airport said. According to an airport spokeswoman, 176 of the around 1,100 take-offs and landings planned for Monday had already been canceled in the morning. Travelers were asked to find out before their flight whether their booked machine is starting and should come to the check-in counter as early as possible.
Flight operations have not been completely stopped, said the spokeswoman. However, there is initially a so-called approach control, which means that only a certain number of machines – fewer than usual – are allowed to land per hour.