Early snow becomes reason of flight delays in central Europe

An early winter storm brought several centimeters (inches) of snow across central Europe, snarled traffic and caused accidents that left one man dead and two others injured Friday. Numerous flights were delayed or canceled. German police said there were several accidents Thursday night and early Friday morning, with traffic delays lasting hours because of jackknifed trucks on the autobahn and cars that slipped and slid along snow-covered roads.

At Frankfurt International Airport, the busiest on the continent, some 87 flights were delayed or canceled, Fraport AG spokesman Robert Payne said, but more than 20 of those were because of a strike in Italy. "The runways have been cleared," he said at midday, adding that planes were taking off and landing. On an average day, the airport handles between 1,300 and 1,400 flights.

The snowfall caused numerous traffic accidents, mostly in the Hesse, Rhineland-Palatinate and Baden-Wuerttemberg states, as well as in North Rhine-Westphalia and Bavaria. In Hesse, one man was killed after a delivery van collided with a truck. Two other people were injured in separate accidents, leaving roads closed for more than two hours overnight.

Police blamed many of the accidents on the lack of winter tires on vehicles. In neighboring Switzerland, police reported more than 200 traffic accidents, along with delays because of snow and ice. No injuries were reported. More snow and freezing rain was forecast for Germany and other parts of central Europe through the weekend, reports the AP. N.U.

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