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WEATHER

IN PICTURES: Germany celebrates a snow-capped festive weekend

Several regions in Germany enjoyed a dazzling white Christmas this year, with many taking to the hills and mountains for sledding, hikes and winter sports.

Winter landscape in Harz, Germany
A blanket of snow covers the hills in the Harz region of Saxony-Anhalt. Photo: picture alliance/dpa/dpa-Zentralbild | Matthias Bein

A week or so before the festive break, meteorologists were trying to manage expectations for a white Christmas. Computer modelling showed that for those in the western parts of Germany and the lowlands, slush and drizzle would be far more likely to crown the celebrations than snow. 

READ ALSO: Can Germany look forward to a white Christmas in 2021?

In many of the higher altitude regions of Germany, however, icy winds blowing in from Siberia brought with them a covering of festive frost on Christmas and Boxing Day – even in the western states.

Here are some of the best pictures snapped by photographers over the Christmas weekend. 

Skiers
Photo: picture alliance/dpa/dpa-Zentralbild | Sebastian Willnow

A skier surveys the landscape from atop the Fichtelberg in Saxony. On Boxing Day, hundreds of day-trippers flocked to the Ore Mountains for winter sports. However, due to the Corona Protection Ordinance, the ski lifts and other winter sports facilities are currently closed.

Snow in Saxony's Ore Mountains
Photo: picture alliance/dpa/dpa-Zentralbild | Sebastian Willnow

The cordoned-off ski lifts didn’t stop groups of walkers and families with sleds enjoying the toboggan slope at Fichtelberg.

Bavaria in the snow
Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Lennart Preiss

Escaping the log fire, holidaymaker Martin Falke and his dog Miami went for a walk in the snow near Rottach-Egern, Bavaria, in heavy fog on Boxing Day.

Snow in Saxony-Anhalt
Photo: picture alliance/dpa/dpa-Zentralbild | Matthias Bein

Hoarfrost formed on bushes and trees in Saxony-Anhalt over the weekend as temperatures of around minus 10 degrees made fine water droplets freeze into ice, transforming the Harz Mountains into a winter wonderland.


Photo: picture alliance/dpa/dpa-Zentralbild | Matthias Bein

Children’s fairground rides, historic buildings and fir trees were capped with snow in a delightfully festive scene at Wernigerode market in Saxony-Anhalt. 

Grape picking in Saxony-Anhalt
Photo: picture alliance/dpa/dpa-Zentralbild | Christian Modla

In double-digit minus temperatures, employees of the Freyburg winegrowers’ association harvested frozen grapes in Müncheroda, Saxony-Anhalt, on December 26th. With the days still short, harvesting begins in the dark.

Four rows of Riesling grapes were harvested on Boxing Day, and the naturally frozen grapes were pressed in the early winter morning.

Schleswig-Holstein in the snow
Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Frank Molter

The northern state of Schleswig-Holstein, near the Danish border, was treated to a dusting of festive frost over the Christmas weekend. On Boxing Day morning, a partially frozen Lake Idstedt glistened in sub-zero temperatures. 

Torfhous
Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Swen Pförtner

In Torfhaus, Lower Saxony, a snowman stood ready to greet guests for Boxing Day festivities after the northwestern state enjoyed a covering of snow.

Bavaria in snow and fog
Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Lennart Preiss

Mountainous Bavaria also saw snow over the weekend – along with a thick covering of fog. Here, a hiker walks through the snow in heavy fog on the Wallberg near Rottach-Egern.


Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Thomas Warnack

In Baden-Württemberg, one hardy wild swimmer went for a dip in the Schwarzachtalsee shortly after daybreak on Boxing Day.

German Weather Service warns of icy roads

Though the winter wonderland may be a dream for winter sports enthusiasts, road users should be prepared for icy roads and pavements at the start of the week – especially in central Germany.

Parts of the federal states of North Rhine-Westphalia, Hesse, Bavaria, Thuringia, Saxony, Lower Saxony, Rhineland-Palatinate and Saxony-Anhalt will be affected on Monday morning, according to the German Weather Service (DWD).

Obstructions in road and rail traffic were possible. “The black ice situation will continue into the morning and then weaken,” DWD expert Florian Bilgeri predicted.

 

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WEATHER

Tornado in western Germany injures dozens

Almost 40 people were injured, several seriously, on Friday in a suspected tornado which hit the western German city of Paderborn, the police and fire brigade said.

Tornado in western Germany injures dozens

A police spokesman said the tornado also caused significant damage in the city in the North Rhine-Westphalia state, following abnormally high temperatures for the time of year.

The city’s fire department said on Twitter that “38 injured people, including some gravely” had been taken to hospital. The police said one person was fighting for their life.

Paderborn, fire service added, “Please do not drive to Paderborn on your own without prior agreement of help. If necessary, further units of the fire brigade will be alerted and called in.”

In neighbouring Rhineland-Palatinate state, a 38-year-old man died after he was electrocuted when he entered his flooded basement and fell on his head, the police in the city of Koblenz said.

Railway travel was disrupted in the west of the country, as police called on people to remain indoors.

In Paderborn, police estimated the damage caused by the tornado at “several million” euros.

The spokesman reported “roofs torn off, windows shattered and numerous trees uprooted throughout the city”.

View of destroyed cars on a street. A tornado caused massive damage in Paderborn and Lippstadt on Friday 20th May 2022.

View of destroyed cars on a street after a tornado caused massive damage in Paderborn and Lippstadt on Friday 20th May 2022. Photo: Picture Alliance/Dpa/Friso Gentsch
 

Images posted on social media showed the tornado column progressing towards homes, sweeping away trees and building sections. Other pictures from the wider region showed cars that had been upturned.

The town of Lippstadt, about 30 kilometres away (18 miles), was also probably hit by a tornado, a fire department spokesperson said, though no injuries had been recorded. The steeple of the church in Lippstadt had been destroyed by the high winds.

People stand in front of the St. Clemens Catholic Church in Hellinghausen near Lippstadt, the top of which was destroyed. A suspected tornado caused massive damage in Lippstadt on Friday 21st May 2022. Photo: Picture alliance/DPA/Friso Gentsch
 

German meteorological services had put out a storm warning for Friday and predicted gales of up to 130 km/h (80 miles/h) in some places.

The bad weather first hit the west of the country and was set to travel eastwards.
  

 
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