Snowstorm causes travel chaos in central Europe

Trains to and from Munich's central station were also halted and Germany's national railway advised passengers to delay or reroute their journeys.
A train is parked at the central station after heavy snow fall in Munich, Germany, Saturday, Dec. 2, 2023.
Posted at 11:48 AM, Dec 02, 2023

All flights were grounded at Munich's airport Saturday after a winter storm dumped snow across southern Germany and parts of Austria, Switzerland and the Czech Republic, affecting travel across the region.

After initially announcing a halt in air traffic until noon on Saturday, the airport later announced flights would be canceled until 6 a.m. Sunday. Other airports in the region, including in the Swiss financial capital, Zurich, also announced weather-related delays and cancellations.

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.

In Munich, no buses or trams were operating as of Saturday afternoon, the local transit authority said. Some subway and regional train lines were also affected by the weather.

Downed trees left "many thousands" of people without power across the state of Bavaria, the utility company Bayernwerk told dpa.

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

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.

In Austria and Switzerland, the new 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 20 inches of snow overnight.

The Austrian railway company OeBB said Saturday 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 in a standstill for hours after an accident that caused a 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 neighboring Austria and Germany didn't operate, and some roads were expected to remain closed for the day.