Snow causes chaos in Germany

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Bitter winter weather closed airports, snarled traffic and delayed buses and trains around the country.

Berlin -- A 20-centimetre layer of snow blanketed parts of Germany on Monday, disrupting road, rail and air traffic.

Tailbacks of up to 30 kilometres were reported on motorways across the country as the inclement weather caught many drivers by surprise.

At least 1 person died and more than a dozen were injured in road accidents. In the eastern state of Brandenburg, which surrounds Berlin, more than 100 accidents occurred between midnight and 8 am.

The main Berlin-Hamburg motorway, which runs through part of Brandenburg, was closed for most of the night after a truck skidded on the icy surface and crashed through the central divider.

Dusseldorf airport was forced to close during the morning because of heavy snowfall that blocked the runways, making it impossible for planes to take off or land. Some 48 flights were cancelled or diverted to other airports.

Germany's national rail carrier, Deutsche Bahn, reported delays of an hour or more on many routes, particularly in the state of North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany's most populous.

A truck carrying 4,000 chickens overturned on the A44 motorway in North Rhine-Westphalia, killing most of its load.

Emergency services distributed blankets and hot drinks to motorists caught in a tailback after a truck skidded and blocked the A43 motorway near Muenster.

Thousands of people were late for work as a result of the snow chaos. In Berlin, commuter rail services were operating normally, but most buses were running around 20 minutes behind schedule.

Meteorologists warned that temperatures might plunge to minus 20 degrees Celsius on Tuesday.


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