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Heavy Snow and Freezing Rain Ground Hundreds of Flights in Germany

WorldHeavy Snow and Freezing Rain Ground Hundreds of Flights in Germany

Heavy snow and freezing rain grounded hundreds of flights in Germany on Wednesday, including at Frankfurt Airport, one of Europe’s busiest, where no flights were taking off at midday as a blast of Arctic air made its way across the continent.

About 700 of the 1,030 scheduled departures at Frankfort were canceled because of the weather on Wednesday, said Dieter Hulick, an airport spokesman. The airport had expected about 115,000 passengers on Wednesday. The weather-related disruptions would continue on Thursday, the airport said, advising passengers to check their flight status and not travel to the airport if their flight was canceled.

“What we have now for a couple of hours is ice-rain, which is causing surfaces to build layers of ice that has caused our de-icing people to have stopped de-icing,” Mr. Hulick said. “We have no takeoffs.”

Later, after the “intensity of freezing rain” had eased, Mr. Hulick said, departures resumed in the early evening.

In Norway, Oslo Airport was closed early in the day because of heavy snow, an airport spokeswoman said. The airport had reopened by midafternoon.

Northern Europe has been swept by icy temperatures this week. Bad weather resulted in more than 100 school closures and delays in Britain. And a plane bound for Amsterdam slid off the runway at Gothenburg Landvetter Airport in Sweden in a blizzard on Wednesday. No significant injuries were reported.

Germany’s weather service issued a black ice warning for much of the southern half of the country for Wednesday and Thursday because of snowfall, freezing rain and low temperatures. A heavy snow warning was in effect in some central regions.

The flight cancellations spread across Germany on Wednesday. Airlines canceled hundreds of flights to and from Munich Airport on Wednesday morning, about a third of total flights, the airport said in a statement. The airport shut down last month because of excessive snowfall. Saarbrücken Airport, a small international airport on the country’s western border, suspended operations entirely on Wednesday, its website said.

Winter weather also disrupted some rail service. Germany’s national rail operator, Deutsche Bahn, said in a statement that the maximum speed of its high-speed ICE trains was limited to 200 kilometers an hour (125 miles per hour) from the typical 300.

Dozens of school districts in Bavaria also canceled classes or switched to remote learning on Wednesday, according to the state’s Culture Ministry.


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