With its mirror-smooth streets, Freiburg blocks off large parts of the tourist-popular Münsterplatz, the old town’s main shopping street. A city spokesperson said it was very slippery on Wednesday, especially on cobblestones. The cleaning of the city has been intense since the early hours of the morning. “But as the weather continues – rain that freezes, not melts – it is not possible to deal with smooth everywhere and constantly,” said a statement from the southern city of Baden.
As the clinics in Freiburg were overcrowded due to the many black ice accidents, rescue workers set up a treatment center in the Freiburg exhibition hall. The Red Cross said the wounded were receiving medical care there and were being moved once the clinic was full again.
“Our emergency room is at its limits,” says Benjamin Washow, spokesperson for the University Hospital Freiburg. Nearly a hundred people are currently waiting in the emergency room for treatment. Most patients have bruises and broken bones, especially people with moderate to light injuries that need to be treated. “So far there have been only a few serious injuries,” Washoe said.
The head of the rescue service, Andy Kaufman, spoke of a “tense situation”. From the early hours of the morning, the rescue services around Freiburg faced significant challenges. By the afternoon, nearly 200 surgeries had already been done with the wounded, the DRK reports on its Facebook page. About 70 assistants from the Red Cross, Maltesers and Johanniter were on duty in tents set up in Freiburg’s exhibition hall on Wednesday afternoon. In the treatment center, the injured receive treatment and medical care until they are admitted to the clinic. Once the clinic expands again, the transfer takes place there.
Crucial combination of frost and humidity
Drivers and pedestrians must be prepared for icy roads and footpaths throughout southern Germany.
The German weather service (DWD) initially warned of freezing rain on Wednesday and issued a severe weather warning. “The entire area south of the Black Forest line is at risk,” said meteorologist Markus Oppel. “The further south, the greater the likelihood of freezing rain.”
According to DWD, sleet will be less dangerous than sleet. The latter instantly forms a smooth surface on the roads.
However, freezing rain can be expected Wednesday in the Alps and in the foothills of the Southern Alps. Also in the northern foothills of the Alps and in southern Lower Bavaria. There is an increased risk of severe weather due to black ice and the risk of an ice sheet for several hours. Also on Thursday night, DWD is forecasting a black ice hazard near Alps.
Significant traffic disruptions are expected: “Limitations to rail and road traffic, including damage to infrastructure such as power lines and towers,” said DWD meteorologist Robert Hausen.
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