Thursday , 23 May 2024
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Global Economy

Rail traffic probably still restricted for days

The storm "Ylenia" hit Germany with force. In the north and east in particular, hurricane gusts caused widespread disruption to rail traffic and train cancellations. The Deutsche Bahn (DB) has therefore completely stopped the long-distance traffic of ICEs and ICs for safety reasons, said a spokesman for the group.

According to reports from the railways, this has affected Lower Saxony, Bremen, Hamburg, Schleswig-Holstein, Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, Berlin and Brandenburg since the night.

Further restrictions probably until Saturday

Train traffic is expected to be “affected nationwide” by Saturday, Deutsche Bahn wrote on Twitter. It is currently not possible to say for sure which long-distance routes will continue to be canceled on Friday and Saturday, a spokesman said in the afternoon. "It is difficult and not exactly predictable what the day will look like tomorrow."

In many places there were also regional traffic cancellations and delays, for example in Thuringia and in the north-east and east of Bavaria.

Regional routes in Schleswig-Holstein are normalizing

In Schleswig-Holstein, on the other hand, almost all regional routes have been back in operation since the early afternoon. A Bahn spokeswoman said it was "going well again, but not quite around yet". The trains to Westerland do not initially run from Hamburg, but only from Itzehoe.

Despite the clean-up work that has started, it is still too early to assess the damage, the railway said. "The damage is significant." DB uses helicopters to inspect damage and coordinate the clean-up work. In some cases, overturned signal bridges or catenary masts also have to be repaired.

DB responds obligingly

Travelers should inform themselves carefully before their trips. If possible, trips should be postponed. Tickets are valid longer or can be canceled free of charge, the railway said. The train connection with saver prices and super saver prices has been lifted.

Dozens of flights were canceled

Flight passengers also have to continue to be patient because of delays. Berlin-Brandenburg Airport BER interrupted aircraft handling in the morning. As the storm intensified again, the outriggers of the terminal's passenger boarding bridges were not allowed to be moved up to the machines. In some cases, mobile bridges were used. Due to strong gusts, no luggage flaps were allowed to be opened at times.

It was initially unclear how long the delays were. There was also no final information about flight cancellations. Lufthansa had canceled flights to Frankfurt during the night. According to the operator, connections to Berlin, Munich and Hamburg were affected at the largest German airport in Frankfurt. Around a dozen flights were canceled at Hamburg Airport.

Storm surge warning

The storm also affected shipping traffic on the coast and in the towns in the hinterland. Since the Elbe is currently closed to large ships, the cruise ship "Aidaprima" is not allowed to call at the port of Hamburg as planned, as a spokeswoman for the port authority HPA said. Ferry traffic was also temporarily suspended in many places, for example in Lübeck or Rostock.

In Hamburg, the fish market was flooded again in the morning. The front windows of a scheduled ferry were also smashed by the heavy waves on the Elbe. According to the first findings of the operating company Hadag, nobody was seriously injured, the dpa news agency reports that one passenger was slightly injured.

There was a storm surge in some places on the Schleswig-Holstein North Sea coast – in Husum, for example, a water level of 1.64 meters above the mean high water was measured. At many other gauges, however, the water levels remained below the level of a storm surge.

The Federal Maritime and Hydrographic Agency (BSH) again warned of the danger of a storm surge in the afternoon and Friday morning for the German North Sea coast. Storm surges in themselves are quite normal, but unusual in the frequency they are at the moment, said a spokesman.

Fatalities in Lower Saxony and Saxony-Anhalt

In the Lower Saxony district of Uelzen, a tree fell on a car and killed the driver. In Saxony-Anhalt, a 55-year-old died in a storm in a car accident on a country road after a tree fell on the car.

Because of the weather dangers, North Rhine-Westphalia canceled school lessons. Pupils are also allowed to stay at home in several regions of Lower Saxony or Bavaria.

"Ylenia" also caused power outages throughout Germany. In Bavaria, the largest electricity network operator, Bayernwerk Netz, recorded 10,000 people affected, a spokesman said. In North Rhine-Westphalia, around 54,000 households lost power on Thursday night, as the operator Westnetz announced on Twitter. The cause of the failures were often trees that had fallen on power lines. In most cases, the supply was restored quickly.

Although there was usually no major damage, the police and fire brigade reported storm-related deployments in many places. According to preliminary figures, the fire brigades in Berlin and Hamburg deployed around 70 times. In Berlin, a state of emergency had to be declared for the second time. Most of the time, the firefighters would have removed trees and branches that were on the street and sometimes on cars.

Next storm low probably from Friday afternoon

By midday, the hurricane had largely subsided, with severe weather warnings only in place in parts of eastern Germany and at higher altitudes in the south of the country. However, the breather should only be brief. "Ylenia" is the first of two consecutive hurricanes.

According to the German Weather Service (DWD), after the weather has calmed down for a while, "Zeynep" is also expected with a strong storm from Friday afternoon. Especially on the coasts it should be rough from Friday to Saturday. "We warn of extreme gusts of wind up to 135 kilometers per hour on the North Sea coast," said DWD meteorologist Franka Nawrath of the dpa news agency.

Storm depression also rages in Poland and the Czech Republic

In Poland, three people died as a result of the storm. The storm severely damaged around 500 houses with wind speeds of up to 125 kilometers per hour, and hundreds of trees fell. The power went out in 324,000 households across the country. The storm also caused enormous traffic disruptions in the Czech Republic. More than 300,000 households were without power.

There were also traffic delays in the Netherlands, and numerous train connections were cancelled. A rare red alert has been declared in the UK as a storm approaches across the Atlantic.

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