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Berlin lies under a blanket of snow

Photo: Wolfram Steinberg / dpa

For a long time it was mild or too warm – now winter has a firm grip on large parts of Germany.

A low-pressure area over southern Germany is rapidly shifting eastwards, say the meteorologists of the German Weather Service in Offenbach. "Behind it, polar cold air floods the whole country." For several parts of the country up to the north and the Baltic Sea, they forecast further mostly light to moderate snowfall.

Freezing cold and more snow in the low mountain range

It will be very cold in some places: In the night to Wednesday, minus ten degrees are expected in isolated cases in higher low mountain ranges in the east and southeast - although there will be "slippery conditions in many places due to snow and frozen wetness," according to the weather service.

There may be a particularly large amount of snow on Wednesday in the Harz Mountains as well as in a strip from the Emsland to the Weser Uplands, where amounts of up to 15 centimetres in six hours cannot be ruled out.

For meteorologists, November is actually still completely part of autumn – the meteorological beginning of winter is December 1st. The calendrical beginning of winter shortly before Christmas depends on the position of the earth in relation to the sun, this year it is on 22 December.

Two dead and one injured child

At least two people have already died as a result of probably weather-related accidents: In the district of Schwäbisch Hall in Baden-Württemberg, a 71-year-old man died on Monday evening in a head-on collision on a snow-slick road. Near Denzerheide in Rhineland-Palatinate, a 54-year-old female driver was killed in a black ice accident.

In the small town of Eckartsberga in Saxony-Anhalt, a school bus with 16 children on board slid into a ditch on Tuesday morning due to the slippery road. A child was injured in the accident, police said.

Increased number of accidents

In Berlin, snow and slippery conditions have already led to numerous accidents. "We receive reports of new accidents on the motorways every minute," the Berlin Traffic Information Centre announced on the online platform X, formerly Twitter. The Berlin police spoke of an "increased number of accidents".

The onset of winter is also making itself felt on Brandenburg's roads. There has been an increase in icy accidents, said a spokeswoman on Tuesday morning. However, officials have yet to get an overview of the exact number. But: "The weather is clearly having an influence."

There were also problems with the railway. Deutsche Bahn announced in the morning that delays and cancellations were to be expected on the Berlin S-Bahn. Snow is expected to continue to fall in the region on Tuesday.

Hesse: Road closures, fallen trees, stuck motorists

In parts of Hesse, snow and slippery conditions have caused chaotic conditions. The situation was particularly acute in the Rheingau-Taunus district. Numerous motorists were stuck in their vehicles here, according to the fire department.

About a hundred people had to be rescued from their cars near Eltville because of falling trees. Initially, they were housed in a hall. On Monday evening, 20 to 25 people were accommodated in hotels. On Tuesday, the operational situation had calmed down somewhat.

After the onset of winter in the Rheingau-Taunus district, District Administrator Sandro Zehner (CDU) had called on residents to stay at home on Tuesday. There is an acute danger to life due to broken branches and falling trees.

There were also considerable problems with buses and trains. This was still true on Tuesday. The Rhein-Main-Verkehrsverbund (RMV) and the Nordhessischer Verkehrsverbund (NVV) called on people to inform themselves online before starting their journey.

In view of further announced snowfalls and slippery conditions, the police called for adapted driving. In an interim assessment of the onset of winter on Tuesday morning, the presidiums reported numerous accidents: The police headquarters of Southeast Hesse reported 25 accidents, the Kassel presidium 40 accidents, and there were also around 40 accidents in East Hesse. In most cases, there was no damage to property, and some people were slightly injured.

In Hesse, too, it is expected to remain wintry. Temperatures rise to a maximum of zero degrees in northern Hesse and three degrees in the south. At night, it will be slippery with lows between minus two and minus five degrees. In addition, snow continues to fall in the north. The north can then expect increased snowfall or sleet on Wednesday, some of which will be showery.