Europe in Winter’s Icy Grip: Flights Are Cancelled in Germany and Switzerland While Avalanche Warning Hits Austria After Snow Sparks Travel Chaos on Continent


Bitterly cold weather is gripping regions across Europe this weekend, with travel affected by a winter storm across southern Germany, parts of Austria and Switzerland. 

After initially announcing a halt in air traffic until noon on Saturday, Munich airport later announced flights would be cancelled until 6am tomorrow after a heavy snow dump.

Other airports in the region, including in the Swiss financial capital, Zurich, also announced weather-related delays and cancellations. 

In Austria and Switzerland, the snowfall led officials to raise the alarm about the danger of avalanches. 

The provinces of Tyrol and Vorarlberg in western Austria raised their avalanche warnings to the second-highest level after the region received up to 50 centimetres of snow overnight. 

The Austrian railway company OeBB said this afternoon that various stretches of its routes across the country were closed due to the storm.

In the Czech Republic, the major highway and some other roads were blocked for hours, trains and public transportation faced delays and cancellations, and over 15,000 households were without power.

The key D1 highway that links the capital Prague with the second largest city of Brno was at a standstill for hours after an accident that caused a 20-kilometre (12.4-mile) long line of trucks. Traffic jams also hit other parts of the highway as well the D5 that links Prague with Germany.

A number of high-speed and regional trains had to stop in the southern part of the country as cross-border trains from neighbouring Austria and Germany didn’t operate, and some roads were expected to remain closed for the day. 

Winter storms also hit southern Poland, with images showing snowploughs clearing the streets of Wroclaw and Krakow. 

Extreme winter conditions across eastern European nations this week have left several dead and thousands of towns and villages with no electricity, after the first significant cold snap of the season.

In Moldova, four people were reported dead last weekend, with two bodies recovered from snowdrift-sunken cars.

In Ukraine, extreme snowstorms left 10 dead across the Odesa, Mykolaiv, Kharkiv, and Kyiv regions.

Power was down in 1,500 towns and villages, with one snowstorm in Odesa rendering 2,500 people in need of rescue and around 850 vehicles in need of towing.

Southern Ukraine was the worst hit, as cars and buses skidded from icy roads during strong winds.

Bulgaria declared a state of emergency as more than 1,000 villages were left without electricity due to winter storms.

Commenting on the snowfall at Munich airport today, one person posted on X, formerly Twitter: ‘So far holidays are great! Stuck in Munich airport due to snow. Probably 2 more days at the airport:) No way in and out.’

The post was accompanied by a video of people exiting the plane to a runway thickly carpeted with snow. 

Trains to and from Munich’s central station were also halted, Germany’s national railway said, advising passengers to delay or reroute their journeys. 

The news agency dpa reported that some passengers in Munich and the nearby city of Ulm spent Friday night on trains due to the halt.

Officials for Germany’s Bundesliga also announced that a football match between Bayern Munich and Union Berlin, originally scheduled for Saturday afternoon in Munich, was cancelled.

The weather has caused accidents and incidents across the region. 

Police in Lower Bavaria, the region northwest of Munich, said they responded to 350 incidents related to snow and ice between Friday night and early Saturday, some of which led to minor to moderate injuries.

Munich’s main rail station was packed with stranded commuters today after trains were cancelled.

Long-distance services have also been hit in the greater area of the Bavarian capital and on the routes to Salzburg, Innsbruck, Nuremberg, Stuttgart and Lindau/Zurich.

Overall, there were delays and cancellations of long-distance trains in southern Germany due to the weather.

According to the German Weather Service 30 to 40 cm of fresh snow was expected in Bavaria in just over 24 hours by this evening, a large part of which fell in 12 hours on Saturday night. 

The snow was accompanied by icy conditions, with the media reporting numerous road accidents. 

It comes as the UK is embracing temperatures well below freezing, with football matches and horse racing fixtures among the events abandoned or suspended due to snow or unsafe surfaces. 

The Met Office has extended a weather warning for snow and ice in Cumbria, northern Lancashire and the Scottish coast south of Dumfries.

The yellow weather warning is now in place throughout all of today but covers a reduced area.

The weather service warned that 1 to 3cm of snow is possible at low levels and 2 to 5cm on higher ground.

It added that further snow showers could combine with icy surfaces to lead to some disruption to road, bus and train services.

Glasgow Airport today said its runway was now fully operational and it would resume flights after planes were grounded earlier due to heavy snowfall.

The Scottish airport had earlier said flight operations were suspended because of a combination of heavier than forecast snow and freezing conditions throughout the night and early morning.

The Met Office issued a yellow weather warning for snow and ice across parts of northwest England and southern Scotland, with wintry showers expected to lead to some icy patches and snow cover in places. 

The mercury dropped to minus 11C in Aviemore in the Highlands overnight and the Met Office also recorded minus 10C in Ravensworth, North Yorkshire on Saturday morning.

The Met Office has issued yellow warnings through Saturday morning for the northern coast and south-west Scotland, as well as the south west and the eastern coast of England.

Forecasters warn that the snowy conditions have increased the risk of injury from icy surfaces.

The weather service warned that some roads and railways are ‘likely to be affected’ by the conditions, with longer journey times by road, bus and train.

There is also a yellow weather warning for snow and ice covering much of the Midlands, Yorkshire and north and central Wales in place from 6pm on Saturday to 12pm on Sunday.

Source : Dailymail