23 January 2006

Germany in the deep freeze

BerlinBear avatar The artic temperatures which have been making Russians' and other eastern Europeans' lives a misery for the past week have now reached Germany. As I write, it's -13 degrees C in Berlin, and that in the middle of the day. Overnight termperatures in various parts of Germany plunged deep into the -20s last night and are predicted to go even lower tonight. In Bavaria, for instance, weather forecasters are warning that the mercury could sink below -30 tonight. Thankfully, I'm not in Berlin at present, but rather Trier, where it is a comparatively balmy -3. Long may it last. That said, looking at the satellite weather picture, I'm not especially hopeful:

[Source: accuweather.com]

The icy temperatures have already claimed numerous lives in Russia, Poland and the Baltic states, but last night they proved fatal in Germany too. Deutsche Welle reports:
Two people have died here in Germany as a result of freezing temperatures as low as minus 24 degrees Celsius. Police said a 74-year-old woman froze to death in the eastern town of Wolfen while the frozen body of a 48-year-old man was found in a field in Salzwedel, also in the east. The snap of extremely cold weather moving westwards from Russia has killed at least 20 people in Poland. There have also been a number of deaths in the Baltic Sea states. Forecasters said temperatures could plunge to minus 30 degrees Celsius in the southern German state of Bavaria on Monday.
The death of the 74 year-old woman was a particularly tragic case. According to radio reports, she fell yesterday evening while trying to go to her letterbox. She was unable to get to her feet after the fall and, since noone heard her cries for help, she froze to death over night. Pardon my French, but what a bloody miserable way to die!