Fresh snow piled up dozens of centimeters high in many parts of southern Germany over the weekend – and caused a lot of chaos. There were power outages in parts of Bavaria. Airports stopped flight operations on Saturday, and the railways also barely operated at times.

An FC Bayern Munich game was canceled, as was a basketball game. Christmas markets remained closed and local transport no longer ran in some places. Plenty of snow also fell in other regions of Germany and Europe, but no area was hit as badly as the south of Bavaria.

Helpers worked tirelessly to clear snow from roofs and paths, to care for stopped travelers and to clear crashed vehicles from roads. The Bavarian Red Cross (BRK) said on Saturday: “Stay at home if possible!” The risk of accidents is immensely increased. Bavaria’s Interior Minister Joachim Herrmann (CSU) praised the fact that nothing worse happened at the weekend thanks to the work of the emergency services. However, the heavy snow on trees continues to pose a danger to drivers and pedestrians.

Flight operations start, the first trains roll out

On Sunday the situation slowly eased somewhat. In the morning, flight operations at Munich Airport started again after around 24 hours. However, around 560 of around 880 planned flights should also be canceled on Sunday. There were also outages at Allgäu Airport in Memmingen and the airport in the Scottish city of Glasgow, among others.

At the main train station in Munich everything was still at a standstill on Sunday morning. Over the course of the day, long-distance transport operations were gradually and sporadically resumed, a spokeswoman said. This initially applies to the routes to Nuremberg and Stuttgart in both directions.

The railway asked travelers to postpone journeys on Monday if possible. It will not be possible to offer all long-distance connections and there will continue to be severe disruptions.

Heavy snowfall on Saturday night largely paralyzed rail traffic in large parts of southern Germany. Trains that were covered in snow couldn’t start, trees that collapsed under the weight of the snow blocked tracks, and overhead lines were icy. At Ulm main station, among other places, an ICE was converted into an overnight train.

There were also disruptions in air and rail traffic in other federal states. Flights to and from Munich were affected at Hanover Airport and Bremen Airport. A spokeswoman for Hanover Airport said on Saturday that a runway was temporarily closed.

Accidents on slippery roads

Above all, but not only in Bavaria, there were numerous accidents on slippery roads at the weekend. Most of them resulted in property damage. In Baden-Württemberg, a 54-year-old driver died in an accident on a snowy road in Emmingen-Liptingen. In Prignitz in Brandenburg, a 34-year-old woman skidded in her car on a slippery winter road, crashed into a tree and overturned. She, her 7-year-old daughter and a 29-year-old passenger were slightly injured. In Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, a 19-year-old driver and his 18-year-old passenger were seriously injured when their car slipped off the snow-covered road near Loitz and crashed into a tree.

Because sheets of ice fell from a bridge there, Autobahn 1 near Wuppertal in the direction of Cologne was closed on Saturday evening between the Wuppertal-Nord intersection and Wuppertal-Ronsdorf. No one was hurt, a police spokesman said. The closure was expected to last until Monday morning. A specialist company is removing the ice from the bridge.

Thousands of households without electricity

A number of households in Bayernwerk’s network area were hit hard, as they temporarily had no electricity. According to a spokesman, the focus was on the area around Munich. Trees had fallen onto cables, and some of these were damaged or torn simply by the snow load. On Saturday afternoon it was said that many thousands of households were still affected, and new disruptions were constantly occurring.

According to energy suppliers, at least 20,000 households in Austria were still without electricity on Sunday. In Styria, a high-voltage pylon snapped, leading to a power outage in parts of the state. Households in Upper Austria on the German border also had to make do without electricity. After the failure of cell phone stations, making calls with cell phones was not possible regionally in Styria.

Neither football nor basketball

Thousands of sports fans and market visitors were also affected by the snow chaos. Due to security risks and the traffic situation, FC Bayern Munich’s home game against 1. FC Union Berlin was canceled on Saturday. FC Bayern’s traditional Christmas visits to the fan clubs on Sunday were also canceled. “It’s incredibly snowy, I’ve rarely seen anything like it,” said player Thomas Müller in a video message.

The game will probably not be rescheduled until next year, as Union spokesman Christian Arbeit said on rbb’s Radioeins. The fan club visits are to be made up for in January as part of a New Year’s reception.

Munich’s basketball game against Alba Berlin was also canceled on Sunday. Alba said it was impossible for the visiting team to travel to Berlin. It was initially unclear when the duel between long-term rivals would be rescheduled.

No punch and danger in the mountains

In many places, strolling through the market with mulled wine also had to be avoided: A number of Christmas markets in Bavaria remained closed for a time. This included the market in the inner courtyard of the Munich residence, where roof avalanches had damaged huts. Zoos such as Straubing Zoo and Augsburg Zoo also remained closed on Saturday. Public transport was temporarily suspended in both cities. The Hellabrunn Zoo in Munich and several castles such as the Linderhof palace complex in Ettal and Herrenchiemsee also remained temporarily closed.

Luckily, there were plenty of alternatives: people across the country enjoyed the winter weather, which was unusually snowy for the first Sunday of Advent in many places. With bright sunshine in many regions, there were a number of day trippers out and about and children enjoyed their first real sleigh rides of the season. Numerous lifts were running in the Bavarian ski areas on Sunday.

However, things became dangerous in the mountains: In the Bavarian Alps, above 1,600 meters, there was initially warning level three on the five-level scale and thus a considerable risk of avalanches, as the avalanche warning center of the Bavarian State Office for the Environment announced. Even a single winter athlete can cause slab avalanches. In addition, avalanches could trigger themselves in steep terrain. “Overall, the snow depth is above average for the time of year at all altitudes,” it said. The avalanche danger should slowly decrease over the next few days.