Accidents, slips, school cancellations: The onset of winter with snow and ice on roads and sidewalks has affected traffic in many parts of Germany and led to numerous rescue missions. At least two people died: In the Schwäbisch Hall district, a 71-year-old man died in a head-on collision on a snowy road on Monday evening. A 54-year-old driver died in a black ice accident near Denzerheide (Rhineland-Palatinate).
Snowfall and freezing temperatures also caused road users in the Berlin-Brandenburg capital region to skid. “We receive reports of new accidents on the motorways every minute,” said the Berlin traffic information center on the online platform X, formerly Twitter.
Delays and cancellations on the train, school bus slipping
The snow caused delays and train cancellations on a number of railway routes, for example on the Berlin S-Bahn and on the train route between Hanover, Hildesheim and Göttingen. There were also train cancellations and discontinued bus services in the Taunus region of Hesse.
A school bus with 16 children on board slipped into a ditch in the Burgenland district in Saxony-Anhalt due to the slippery road surface. A child was injured in the accident, police said.
Many people still have summer tires on the road
Because, according to police reports, he was driving too fast on a snow-covered road, a 29-year-old driver crashed into a forest in Upper Franconia and was seriously injured. The man lost control of his vehicle in a slight curve near Hof on Monday evening. This caused him to hit trees with such force that his car was thrown back.
In many places, the police called for careful driving: "It is now more than necessary to have weather-adapted tires on vehicles and, if ignored, leads to severe fines," it was said in Rhineland-Palatinate, for example. During checks, “a large number of road users” were still using summer tires.
People are rescued from vehicles
Accidents occurred in many parts of Hesse, resulting in injuries and a lot of property damage. Trees fell due to the weight of the snow. The situation was particularly dire in the Rheingau-Taunus district: According to the fire department, numerous drivers were stuck in their vehicles. Around 100 people had to be rescued from their cars near Eltville due to falling trees.
The district administrator in the Rheingau-Taunus district, Sandro Zehner (CDU), called for people to stay at home: "My urgent appeal: Be sure to stay at home on Tuesday. Please do not go for walks in the forest either: there is an acute danger to life from broken branches and falling branches trees."
Children have to stay overnight at school
In Wiesbaden, 55 people, including 27 children, had to spend the night in a school. The fire department set up accommodation in the school building because school buses were no longer running, a fire department spokesman said. At times, 30 students and teachers were stuck in a comprehensive school in Bad Schwalbach. They were treated but were brought home by the fire department late on Monday evening.
A driver on the A2 in North Rhine-Westphalia was extremely lucky: in the area of the Gütersloh junction he left the road and overturned, as the Bielefeld police announced on Tuesday morning. The driver was only slightly injured in the accident on Monday and did not have to go to hospital. Due to a truck accident, Autobahn 3 near Wörth in Lower Bavaria was closed for hours overnight.
Numerous flights in Frankfurt am Main canceled
Numerous flights were canceled at Frankfurt Airport. On Monday alone, 161 takeoffs and landings out of a total of 1,031 planned flight connections were canceled, as the operator Fraport announced. Due to heavy snowfall, the runways at Germany's largest airport had to be cleared. According to Fraport, all runways were open again on Tuesday - but due to the effects of the previous day's cancellations, around 100 of 1,050 flights were expected to be canceled.
More fun in the winter sports areas
The onset of winter also has its positive sides: winter sports fans can hope for better conditions in the Thuringian Forest, for example. The regional association said that ten kilometers of cross-country skiing routes have already been prepared there. In the morning he reported snow depths of up to 40 centimeters.
And children can look forward to a day off from school at several schools in the Lower Franconian district of Main-Spessart. The reason for this was fallen trees and poor traffic on the roads, according to the district office.
Snowfall up to 200 meters
According to the German Weather Service, the snowfall mainly affected central Germany. According to meteorologist Markus Böse, the strip stretched “like a ribbon” from North Rhine-Westphalia across Hesse, Saxony, southern Brandenburg and parts of Franconia. What was “remarkable” was that widespread snow also fell in places that were only 200 to 400 meters above sea level.
In Bad Homburg (Hochtaunuskreis) 16 centimeters of fresh snow fell, in Wiesbaden-Aurigen 17 centimeters and in Hofheim (Main-Taunus district) 10 centimeters of fresh snow fell. Of course, more snow fell at higher altitudes, for example 36 centimeters on the small Feldberg.
Polar cold air across the country - continued snowfall
Winter is settling in in Germany - already in the last days of November. “Precipitation occurs again and again, some of which can fall as snow down to low altitudes,” said Markus Böse from the DWD. Only in the southwest and south does rain mix with the snow. However, the snow is unlikely to stay put.
For meteorologists, November is actually completely autumn - the meteorological start of winter is December 1st. The calendar start of winter shortly before Christmas depends on the position of the earth relative to the sun; this year it is on December 22nd.