Brussels (Brussels Morning) The Netherlands and the greater part of northern Germany were left partially paralysed on Sunday as a severe snowstorm disrupted rail and air traffic over large swathes of Europe, AFP reports.
Dutch authorities declared a rare “code red” emergency for the entire country in response to the first major snowstorm to hit the area in more than a decade, while the German Weather Service (DWD) issued an extreme weather warning.
Germany’s train operator Deutsche Bahn (DB) was forced to close several routes around the country, completely suspending train links to the Netherlands. Deutsche Welle reported passengers had difficulties leaving Berlin and Hamburg, with many long-distance routes temporarily shut down.
In the Netherlands, dozens of flights were cancelled or delayed at Europe’s busiest airport, Amsterdam’s Schiphol. At the same time, Eindhoven airport, located in the south of the Netherlands, cancelled all services. All rail transport was similarly halted, as was Amsterdam’s tram service.
Injuries and accidents
German local media reported dozens of injuries and traffic accidents around the country. Because of the heavy snow, few people ventured out on the streets of Hanover. In the Netherlands, some 80 cars were reported to have skidded off the roads.
Up to 20 centimetres of snow was recorded in several states in Germany, and up to 30 centimetres in the Netherlands. Conditions were exacerbated by strong winds of up to 80 kph in Germany and 90 kph in the Netherlands
This has been the first major snowstorm to hit the wider European area since January 2010. Weather services predict the cold spell will continue in both countries.