The storm “Zoltan” has now moved to the Baltic States, but the influence of low pressure remains in Germany. This is also evident in Bavaria: In many places there is rain and wind instead of a white Christmas. The German Weather Service (DWD) expects a wet, mild and partly stormy Christmas Eve with temperatures of seven to eleven degrees. The meteorologists announced this on Sunday morning. Raindrops instead of snowflakes fall predominantly throughout the day in Bavaria. According to the DWD, there should only be short breaks in the rain.
The weather service warns of severe weather due to continuous rain for the Franconian Forest and the Fichtel Mountains as well as the Bavarian Forest. According to the Bavarian Avalanche Warning Service, the snowfall limit rises to 2,100 to 2,400 meters towards the evening.
It remains stormy in the Free State. Meteorologists are expecting gusts of between 60 and 70 kilometers per hour in the lowlands. In the higher altitudes of the Alps and the Bavarian Forest, hurricane-like gusts can occur. According to the information, the wind is expected to slowly subside on Monday night and the rain is also forecast to decrease. In the foothills of the Alps the sun could come out more on Monday and Tuesday.
River levels are rising
River levels in Bavaria continue to rise due to persistent rain. Reporting level 3 applies in some districts. The Flood Intelligence Service (HND) warns of flooding in built-up areas. In some cases, reporting level 4 was exceeded. Franconia and eastern Bavaria are particularly affected.
In the Upper Franconian communities of Rödental (Coburg district) and Mainleus (Kulmbach district), the water level rose just above the level 4 reporting limit during the night. Rivers in the districts of Amberg-Sulzbach, Coburg, Bayreuth, Würzburg, Schweinfurt, Passau and in the Swabian district Danube-Ries reached reporting level 3 during the night. In Neustadt (Coburg district), it cannot be ruled out that the level of the Steinach river will rise to reporting level 4, meaning that large-scale flooding of built-up areas is possible.
From Saturday to Sunday, some cellars in Upper Franconia were already full and streets were flooded. Police headquarters said emergency services have cleared several parking spaces in Middle and Lower Franconia. Several roads were also closed due to flooding. In the Lichtenfels district, the district roads LIF 7 and LIF 20 are currently not accessible, as the Lichtenfels district announced on Sunday.
On Saturday, near Heustreu in the Rhön-Grabfeld district, the fire department had to rescue a 20-year-old who had driven her car into a closed, flooded street, according to a police statement. In Lower Bavaria, a stream in Niederalteich (Deggendorf district) rose so much that fire brigade forces had to reinforce and raise a dam.
However, the water level is now falling again, said a spokesman for the Straubing Integrated Control Center. There is also a risk of flooding in large parts of the rest of Bavaria. The HND expects minor expansions here.
Ski operations affected
Strong winds also partially affected skiing on Christmas Eve. The Bavarian Zugspitzbahn reports that the cable car to Germany’s highest mountain is “out of service” on its homepage. A lift on Zugspitzplatt was also unable to operate on Sunday. However, the cog railway to Zugspitze, which had not run on Saturday, was in operation again. Due to the strong wind, there could also be disruptions to the cable cars and lifts in the Garmisch Classic ski area, the Zugspitzbahn said.
At Sudelfeld near Bayrischzell and in the Spitzingsee area, where the lifts were closed on Saturday due to the storm, skiing resumed on Sunday. However, according to the homepage, the new gondola lift at Ochsenkopf in the Fichtelgebirge remained closed on Christmas Eve. It should officially start on Friday. But the weather didn’t cooperate: the train couldn’t run because of the storm, and there was still no dense blanket of snow in the northern Bavarian low mountain range. In the future, 40 ten-person gondolas will take up to 2,000 people per hour up the 1,024 meter high mountain.
At the Alpspitze near Garmisch-Partenkirchen, the avalanche commission first had to check the situation and clear the slopes. In many places on Sunday there was still a significant risk of avalanches above 1,500 meters, which means level three of five warning levels. The main problem is snowdrift, which is poorly connected to the underlying snow layers, according to the Bavarian Avalanche Warning Service. The day before, the high altitude service at the Bavarian State Office for the Environment had even reported level four and therefore a great danger. However, the risk should decrease further in the next few days if the temperatures are mild.
Storm “Zoltan”: Hundreds of operations in Bavaria
Emergency services were deployed hundreds of times in Bavaria because of the storm “Zoltan” on Saturday and on the night of Christmas Eve. However, there were no major operations or storm damage, police headquarters said on Sunday. The emergency services mainly had to deal with fallen trees, loose roof parts and fallen power lines.
The fire brigade was also on duty in Franconia due to flooding. One person was slightly injured in a weather-related car accident. In Upper Bavaria, the emergency services were deployed 250 times, and in Upper Franconia there were 150 deployments. The emergency services in Nuremberg and Erlangen were alerted 70 times, according to the fire department. In Swabia and Lower Franconia, on the other hand, according to police headquarters, there were only a few weather-related operations.
The storm led to isolated accidents. Due to strong gusts of wind, a transporter carrying around 85 pigs overturned inwickelsbach (Ansbach district). An estimated two thirds of the animals died or had to be euthanized by a veterinarian, said a police spokeswoman. The driver was uninjured in the accident on Saturday night.
Near Altomünster (Dachau district), a gust of wind pulled a trailer into oncoming traffic and it crashed into an oncoming car, the police announced on Sunday. A 30-year-old was slightly injured in the accident, while a 43-year-old was uninjured.
Train traffic on Christmas Eve: no restrictions
Just in time for Christmas Eve there is good news for rail travelers in Bavaria: “Travel traffic is rolling,” said a spokeswoman for Deutsche Bahn on Sunday. After storm “Zoltan” caused closures, delays and train cancellations, there were no restrictions on the railway lines in the Free State, according to information from Sunday afternoon.
Deutsche Bahn has said it has been using 60 additional trains since Thursday and until New Year’s Day. They travel on routes that are in high demand, such as Cologne-Frankfurt-Stuttgart-Munich. For the last week of the year, the railway expects evenly distributed high demand.