Europe Freezes: Temperature in Germany Falls to Minus 34.6 Degrees

Frosty weather continued to nip at Europe Thursday, with temperatures falling as low as minus 34.6 degrees Celsius in one part of Germany.

An Arctic chill continued to frost Germany on Thursday, with nighttime temperatures of minus 34.6 degrees Celsius (minus 30.28 Fahrenheit) reported at Funtensee lake in Bavaria, according to the weather service Meteomedia.

Clear skies, dry air and almost a complete lack of wind on top of a thick covering of snow in the German Alps led to the dramatic drop in temperatures. The last time a lower temperature was recorded in the area was during Christmas 2001, when it measured minus 45.9 degrees Celsius, the coldest temperature in Germany since records began. In the town of Mähring in Bavaria near the border to the Czech Republic, the mercury dropped to minus 20.7 degrees Celsius.

One swath of the country, stretching from parts of Bavaria right up through eastern Germany to Berlin, recorded temperatures lower than minus 15, with one neighborhood in the capital showing minus 16.8 degrees on the thermometer. In other parts of eastern and western Germany, temperatures were milder. The temperature in the long stretch between the state of Saarland and the North Sea ranged from 3 to 8 degrees. The mildest spot recorded in Germany was on the North Sea island of Helgoland, where the temperature was 1.4 degrees.

Wednesday night's temperatures caused the death of a 58-year-old homeless woman near Trier, who froze to death in her tent, according to police. For several years, the woman had lived together with a 43-year-old man in a tent on the bank of the Mosel River. Apparently the woman hadn't been equipped for the massive drop in temperature. Police said the homeless pair had rejected an offer by a local hotel to stay there for free during the cold period.

Germany's national railway, Deutsche Bahn, also reported that the brakes had frozen on one of its high-speed ICE trains traveling between Hanover and Berlin on Wednesday night. Stranded passengers had to be taken to the capital on a second train two hours later.

Ice on roads also caused accidents and a 14-kilometer long traffic jam on one autobahn between the eastern cities of Leipzig and Dresden.

The icy cold also caused the surface of one of Germany's largest lakes, the Müritz in the eastern state of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, to freeze over, with a layer of ice measuring between 4 and 10 centimeters. However city officials said the ice wasn't thick enough for ice skating.

dsl - with wire reports

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