BONN/REGION · Snow, rain and ice caused problems on the streets of Bonn and Rhein-Sieg on Wednesday. At the airport, flight operations were stopped temporarily. And a heavy storm with gale-force winds is expected for Thursday.
It was difficult for motorists on Wednesday morning with snowfall and slippery streets. The city reports that all of its winter service vehicles were fully deployed as of 3:30 am. Their work was to continue until all important roads, hospital driveways, higher elevation routes, which are used by public bus traffic and local thoroughfares, were cleared and sanded. The weather service had warned of wind gusts reaching a speed up to 75 km /h.
Problems on the road and with rail traffic
Bus traffic was also affected by the weather. The Stadtwerke Bonn (City Public Works - SWB) responsible for the buses reported that there were many hindrances in the higher elevations. From 8:30 until 9:40 am, buses could not make it to Gielgen, Heiderhof, Ippendorf and Venusberg, according to Veronika John of SWB.
Tram lines 16 and 18 faced extreme delays. The reason for this was initially a points failure and a power outage on the line. Then the morning weather brought more irregularities and delays.
School buses in the higher elevations of Rhine-Sieg were cancelled due to the snow and ice.
Flights cancelled at Cologne/Bonn
At Cologne / Bonn Airport, flight operations had to be suspended temporarily. "Between 6:25 and 7:45 am, no takeoffs and landings were possible," said spokeswoman Hannah Schneider to GA. The reason was the snow-covered runway, which had to be cleared first by the winter service. As a result of the temporary hold, the entire flight plan was jumbled up so that delays followed, according to Schneider.
Two injured in accidents
Bonn police were called to several smaller accidents. This included a bus slipping and traversing the road Goldbergweg in Bad Godesberg. Overall, however, the morning was not too bad, according to police.
The police in the Rhine-Sieg region reported being very busy, especially in the higher-situated towns. During rush hour between 6:45 and 9 am, patrols were dispatched to ten weather-related operations, including two road closures and eight accidents that caused several thousand euros in property damage. Two people were injured in two accidents.
Streets closed off in Rhine-Sieg region
Many uphill routes such as the B 507 between Pohlhausen and Neunkirchen were partly blocked by trucks transversing the road. Traffic crept along very slowly. On the B 56 between Much and Seelscheid, there was also a bus across the road, blocking it. The main road had to be completely closed from 8:10 to 9:40 am.
A 12-ton truck veered into a ditch off the L 189. A Twitter user reported that streets in the Siebengeburge (Seven Mountains) were frozen and full of vehicles. One truck could not make it up a hill at Margaretenhöhe and had to leave it at the side of the road. Also on other streets, cars and buses remained in place.
Warning from German Rail
Deutsche Bahn (German Rail) has put out a notice on the internet, warning passengers about possible disturbances in the southwest of Germany because of possible gale-force storms on Wednesday and Thursday. It said that due to safety reasons, speeds might be reduced, and in individual cases, some railway operations suspended.
Northern NRW to bear brunt of storm
"The main storm field is likely to pass over the north of North Rhine-Westphalia," says meteorologist Karsten Brandt. He calculates wind speeds up to 110 kilometers per hour may whip through the Siebengebirge. The storm system called "Friederike" is expected to pass through by the evening. But, according to the meteorologist, winter will return at the weekend.
Public transportation officials in Bonn said they were not planning on any restrictions for Thursday. They planned to keep on schedule to the extent possible. Past storms have caused disruptions because of flying branches landing on overhead lines.
As well, it could come to road closures by the fire department if fallen trees need to be removed. Rhine-Sieg transportation official Herbert Knopp said that the storm could lead to massive traffic disruptions.
Orig. text: ga.de, Translation: ck