A major storm system hit Germany last night. It is especially the northern half of the country that is affected. The severe weather is not expected to disappear until Friday, forecasters say.
Berlin, February 17, 2022. Update: 1:37 p.m. CET (The Berlin Spectator) — In Berlin, firefighters declared a state of emergency after 3 a.m. this morning because they could no longer cope with all the weather operations on their own. As a result, the city’s volunteer firefighters were activated. This situation is caused by a major storm that is wreaking havoc on the German islands, along the North Sea and Baltic Sea coasts, in the rest of northern Germany, in the Berlin-Brandenburg region as well than in central Germany.
People asked to stay at home
In the capital, the storm caused heavy rain overnight. For a time it faded into the wee hours of the morning, only to return a few hours later. Berlin is now expecting extremely strong winds with speeds of up to 130 km/h (81 mph). Authorities have asked residents to stay at home as much as possible and keep windows and patio doors closed.
Loose objects outside needed to be repaired, according to a statement from the fire department. Berliners have been urged to refrain from entering forests or parks, due to flying branches and falling trees. Similar warnings have been issued by authorities in several regions of Germany. In Berlin and Brandenburg, school children were allowed to stay at home on Thursday.
Diverted bus lines
According to Berlin’s public transport provider BVG, many bus routes had to be diverted due to fallen trees and other objects on the streets at some point this morning. They included two night bus lines as well as the M27, M41, M45, M76, 130, 140, 154, 165, 168, 181, 184, 186, 197, 204, 218, 246, 259, 372, 380, 398 and 399. ‘U-Bahn’ trains on elevated tracks, on lines U1, U2, U3 and U6, run at reduced speed. The U3 could not reach all stops for some time because a tree fell on the roof of the “Oskar-Helene-Heim” station.
The ferry line no. 12 was arrested at 9:00 a.m. These tram lines were affected by the severe storm: M4, M5, M6, M10, M17, 21, 37, 60, 61 and 67. From late morning signs at tram and bus stops in all of Berlin indicated that public transport was “irregular for weather reasons”.
The fish market flooded again
Two and a half weeks after the last winter storm it went through, and exactly sixty years after the great storm surge of 1960, Hamburg is going through another one right now. The famous fish market has just been flooded again. Until 5 a.m., the Hamburg fire department was part of 65 weather-related operations. A thick tree branch crashed into a late evening U-Bahn train. No one was injured, but trains on the ‘U1’ line could not run until the spur was removed.
Firefighters also had to use their pumps to get rid of water that had flooded the A7 motorway around its Bahrenfeld exit. Another storm surge at the Port of Hamburg is expected on Thursday afternoon. Hamburg’s largest cemeteries will remain closed today due to the danger posed by flying branches.
cruise liner in stormy seas
There are more troubles. According to German-language media, the cruise liner AIDAprima could not reach the port of Hamburg in time. That’s why he’s now battling rough seas around the island of Helgoland while his passengers are still on board. The ship will not be allowed entry until the storm subsides. At Hamburg Airport, most flights that were due to leave before noon had to be canceled due to the storm.
At Germany’s largest airport, Frankfurt, things weren’t so bad. But many domestic Lufthansa flights, including those to Brandenburg Airport BER and to Hamburg, have been canceled. At the same time, Deutsche Bahn faced fallen trees on its tracks and similar issues. Delays and cancellations have been announced, also because the storm threatens all trains, especially outside cities.
Long-distance trains affected
At this stage, extreme weather conditions mainly affect long-distance trains. All connections in Schleswig-Holstein, Hamburg, Bremen, Lower Saxony, Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, Berlin and Brandenburg have been canceled until further notice. But these problems have also been felt in the rest of Germany as trains for the south that do not depart from the north will not reach their destinations and disrupt timetables there as well. Passengers are expected to check the status of their trains in advance. Tickets that have been purchased for specific trains today can be used within the next seven days.
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