Over 700 flights canceled amid snowstorm chaos across Europe. On Saturday, travelwas severely disrupted across Europe following a heavy snowfall that blanketed cities and brought freezing temperatures in its wake. This extreme weather, part of a series of early-season storms, led to widespread travel chaos, impacting regions from European citiesto the peaks of Hawaii.
In southern Germany, particularly Munich, a significant winter storm resulted in extensive snow accumulation. This storm, affecting parts of Austria, Switzerland, and the Czech Republic as well, led to major disruptions in travel across the continent. Munich Airport was a focal point of this disruption, with around 760 flights canceled. Operations were not expected to resume until Sunday morning. This situation was visually captured in videos showing Munich Airport's airplanes and tarmac covered in snow, highlighting the severity of the storm.
The impact was felt beyond Germany. Airports in London, Vienna, and Zurich reported delays exceeding an hour. Dublin Airport in Ireland canceled ten flights due to icy conditions, as reported by the Irish Independent. Glasgow Airport temporarily suspended flights on Saturday morning due to heavier than forecast snow but resumed operations later in the day.
The snowstorms also raised concerns beyond air travel. In Austria and Switzerland, officials warned of potential avalanches. The UK saw cancellations of numerous sporting events, including Scottish soccer matches.
Outside of Europe, Ukraine experienced significant disruption from snowstorms, leading to ten deaths and leaving many stranded. According to The Guardian, around 1,500 towns and villages were left without power, and Odesa faced a significant rescue operation due to the snow. Moldova also reported four deaths due to the weather conditions.
In a stark contrast to the usual tropical climate, Hawaii's summits received their first snowfall of the season, a result of the Kona Low weather system. This system brought not only snow but also heavy rain to the lower elevations of the islands. Fox Weather meteorologist Samantha Thomas remarked on the unusual weather patterns, noting the parallels to other regions in the U.S.
The Pacific Northwest in the United States was on alert for ongoing snowfall through Saturday. Oregon and Washington were expected to see several feet of snow, increasing the risk of flooding in the region. The National Weather Service forecasted that the heavy rain and high-elevation snow would continue across the Pacific Northwest, Rockies, and parts of the Great Basin throughout the weekend.
Public transport in Munich, including buses, trams, and some train services, was also severely affected. Munich’s central train station and long-distance rail services were suspended, as reported by Deutsche Bahn. This led to numerous travelers being stranded, with reports of passengers waiting for extended periods for any updates on their travel plans.
Munich police advised against car use, emphasizing the need for safety in these extreme conditions. Additionally, a football match between Bayern Munich and Union Berlin was postponed, further indicating the widespread impact of the snowstorm.
This weather event in Munich was historically significant, with Bayerischer Rundfunk reporting that the 44 centimeters of snow was the most recorded in December since 1933.
The extent of this storm's impact, from canceled flights to public transport disruptions and safety warnings, underscores the challenges posed by severe winter conditions on global travel and daily life.