Late snowfalls snarl German and Czech traffic
Unusually late falls of snow in Germany snarled traffic.
Berlin -- Unusually late falls of snow in Germany snarled traffic Thursday on main highways in Bavaria state, and forecasters warned freezing weather was on its way over the next few days.
Police said about 25 cars skidded or crashed in non-fatal accidents on a section of autobahn number 9 from Nuremberg to Berlin in the hills near Bayreuth, causing tailbacks. Rescue services passed out food to motorists waiting in the snow.
Across the border in the Czech Republic, 116 snow-related highway crashes were reported and an estimated 20,000 people were trapped in their cars on snow-clogged roads. The main highway from Brno to Prague was closed at its mid-point.
Helicopters and ambulances took six people with serious and 24 with slight injuries to hospitals in nearby cities, Vysocina county spokeswoman Jitka Svatosova said.
The country's main road was shut down for kilometers in the accident-prone Vysocina highlands and could open as late as Friday morning, Svatosova said.
Authorities dispatched vehicles carrying tea and blankets to the blocked parts of the road, the county spokeswoman said.
Meteorologists expect more heavy snow and gale-force winds to hit the Czech Republic in coming hours and days.
The German Weather Service said the heaviest snows of the winter would hit upland areas of central Europe late Thursday and early Friday, making many roads and railtracks impassable.
Western Europe has had an unusually mild winter with very little snow in its lowlands. For meteorologists, spring began March 1 and the celestial season of spring begins Friday with the equinox.
DPA with Expatica