Storm "Zoltan" is sweeping through northern Germany with strong gusts and showers. The Federal Maritime and Hydrographic Agency (BSH) predicted a severe storm surge for the German North Sea coast and Hamburg in the morning. The East Frisian coast and the Weser area must also expect severe storm surges. Deutsche Bahn expects further restrictions on passenger transport today.
Rail traffic was hit hard on Thursday. There were numerous cancellations and delays in regional and long-distance transport due to the storm damage. “In some cases, damage can only be finally assessed in daylight,” a railway spokesman told the German Press Agency on Thursday evening. The railway lines in the north are particularly affected.
Rail traffic continues to be affected
According to initial information, long-distance trains between Hamburg/Hannover, Kassel and Frankfurt/Stuttgart/Basel as well as Würzburg and Munich are canceled today. There are delays and isolated cancellations between Berlin/Leipzig/Erfurt and Frankfurt. ICE and IC trains between Cologne and Kassel will also be canceled for the time being. According to information from Friday, no ICE and IC trains stop in Marienhafe, Norden, Norddeich and Norddeich Mole. The EC train routes in Hamburg and Schleswig-Holstein are also affected.
There were also weather-related delays and cancellations in regional transport on Thursday, which continued into the night. Near Hamburg, traffic was stopped on some routes.
The hurricane-like gusts not only caused trees to fall onto tracks, but also onto roads. Christmas markets remained closed or closed earlier and ferries were canceled - such as the trips between Rostock and Gedser in Denmark. In addition, the Fehmarnsund Bridge in Schleswig-Holstein had to be completely closed, according to police.
Injured by fallen trees
A person crashed their car into a tree on the road in Fahrdorf in Schleswig-Holstein and was seriously injured. The tree fell onto the road due to the storm "Zoltan" on Thursday evening, the police said. The injured person was taken to a hospital.
In Saxony-Anhalt, numerous trees fell and branches and traffic signs broke on Friday night due to the stormy weather. In Salzwedel and Gommern (Jerichower Land district), two people were slightly injured, the Stendal police said. According to the police, a van in Salzwedel left the road due to strong winds and a tree fell on a car in Gommern.
Elbe floods Hamburg fish market
The heavy storm surge pushed the water of the Elbe ashore on Friday night and completely flooded the fish market and the surrounding streets. The water was sometimes waist high. Since not all the cars were driven away in time, they too were flooded.
During the night, the fire brigade and police were out looking for people in the vehicles that were still parked in the flood area. During the night, some onlookers also observed the effects of the storm surge near the fish market.
Severe storm surge warning
The Lower Saxony State Office for Water Management, Coastal and Nature Conservation (NLWKN) issued a flood warning for the entire state. In many places the first rivers would overflow their banks and flood forestry and agricultural areas.
While the all-clear was given for a severe storm surge overnight, BSH predicted a severe storm surge on Friday for the German North Sea coast and Hamburg. In Hamburg's Elbe area, the police warned of water levels of around 3 meters above mean high water this morning. According to police, the affected area should be avoided. According to the information, the flood peak is expected at around 11 a.m. at the St. Pauli gauge with a height of up to 3.05 meters above the mean flood level
The experts from the BSH also predicted severe storm surges today for the East Frisian coast and the Weser area. Flood waters there are expected to be 2.5 meters to 3 meters above average in the morning and midday. On the North Frisian coast, water levels of 2 meters to 2.5 meters above mean high water are expected. A severe weather warning has been issued by the German Weather Service (DWD) for the west coast of Schleswig-Holstein.