Winter storm grounds flights, halts trains in southern Germany
MUNICH (AP) — Air travel ground to a halt in Munich on Saturday as a powerful winter storm blanketed southern Germany, as well as parts of Austria, Switzerland, and the Czech Republic, with heavy snow. The severe weather disrupted travel plans for thousands of people across the region.
After initially announcing a temporary halt in flights until noon on Saturday, Munich’s airport later extended the cancellation of flights until 6 a.m. on Sunday. The Swiss financial capital, Zurich, also experienced weather-related delays and cancellations at its airport.
In addition to flight disruptions, Germany’s national railway announced a stoppage of trains to and from Munich’s central station. Passengers were advised to alter or delay their journeys. Some individuals spent Friday night on trains due to the travel suspension.
The local transit authority in Munich reported that no buses or trams were in operation as of Saturday afternoon due to the winter conditions. Several subway and regional train lines were also impacted.
The storm brought down trees, causing power outages across Bavaria. The utility company Bayernwerk reported that “many thousands” of people were left without electricity.
The adverse weather also resulted in soccer match cancellations and a high number of incidents related to snow and ice. In Lower Bavaria, police responded to 350 incidents, many of which resulted in minor to moderate injuries.
In Austria and Switzerland, the new snowfall led to heightened concerns about avalanches. Authorities in western Austria raised avalanche warnings to the second-highest level after the region received up to 20 inches of snow overnight. The Austrian railway company OeBB reported various route closures due to the storm.
The Czech Republic also faced significant challenges as the storm caused road blockages, train delays, and power outages. The D1 highway linking the capital Prague with the second-largest city, Brno, was at a standstill for hours due to an accident, causing a 12.4-mile long line of trucks.
High-speed and regional trains came to a halt in the southern part of the country, with some roads expected to remain closed for the day. Over 15,000 households were without power, and trains from neighboring Austria and Germany did not operate. Traffic jams clogged major highways throughout the region.