Black ice unleashes road, rail and air travel woes – DW – 12/19/2022


Slippery black ice caused travel headaches as milder conditions moved in across snow and ice-bound Germany on Monday, with flights from the country’s largest airport canceled.

Authorities reported numerous traffic accidents because of the conditions in the northern states of Lower Saxony and Bremen, with one driver killed.

After days of snowy and freezing conditionslow pressure is shifting from the Atlantic across northern Europe, causing ice to melt and refreeze, and forming treacherous and often invisible layers of black ice.

Frankfurt Airport cuts flights

Frankfurt Airport — the busiest airport by passenger traffic in Germany — announced delays in operations and flight cancellations to allow for runway maintenance.

Of 1,100 takeoffs and landings planned for  Monday, a spokeswoman said that the airport had already had to cancel 176 in the morning.

While airport bosses did not completely suspend flight operations, a reduced number of aircraft were being allowed to land per hour.

The northwest runway was closed in the morning, with gritting vehicles in

continuous operation. De-icing of the aircraft also led to delays.

The airport asked travelers to find out in advance whether their booked flights would be taking off and arrive at the check-in desk as early as possible.

Road conditions turn deadly

The German Weather Service (DWD) warned ahead of the Monday rush hour that some roads and railways might become impassable.

A 25-year-old driver was killed in an early morning accident on a stretch of highway between Hanover and Bremen. Highway police said the car had slid off the road because of the slippery conditions, hitting a tree. The motorist died at the scene.

The road was fully closed and then partially reopened in the morning.

Other traffic accidents were reported across northern, western, and central parts of Germany, and there was also an uptick in surgery admissions because of pedestrians falling on pavements.

In large parts of Lower Saxony, including Hanover, Osnabrück, and Gottingen, authorities canceled school classes on Monday.

For large parts of Germany, the DWD advised people not to stay outdoors if possible and to be prepared for impairments on all traffic routes.

rc/fb (AFP, dpa)

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