As Germany experienced its coldest December in a decade, the government implored residents to exercise restraint on turning up the heat.
Snow blanketed most of Germany on Wednesday, from Berlin to the western city of Cologne, and especially in the mountainous southern areas of Bavaria and Baden-Württemberg.
As temperatures dipped to minus 10 degrees Celsius (14 degrees Fahrenheit) in some areas, the German weather service (DWD) called on residents to exercise caution, particularly in the icy south.
The DWD also warned that infrastructure could be disturbed by the snow and ice, including power cuts and road closures. Train delays were also expected as tracks got snowed under. Trains operating at higher elevations and international trains to Switzerland and France from Baden-Württemberg were particularly affected, according to rail operator Deutsche Bahn.
Germany still 'very far' from ending gas crisis
Public broadcaster ZDF reported that December 2022 could be Germany's coldest in a decade. After years of mild Decembers, the news came at a poor time as an energy crunch and skyrocketing prices have Germans trying to use as little gas as possible.
Reliant on Russian gas for many purposes in recent years, including heating many homes and businesses, sanctions against following the invasion of Ukraine have hit consumers across the country hard. Though Germany has managed to source gas elsewhere, the situation remained precarious, the Federal Network Agency (Bundesnetzagentur) said on Wednesday.
The president of Bundesnetzagentur, which regulates electricity and gas amonst other things, told ZDF that Germans should still try to keep the heaters down as low as possible.
Germany is still "very, very far" from having its gas needs totally covered for the next two years, Klaus Müller said in the interview. "Because of this, in spite of the cold, I implore you to exercise restraint with gas use."
Edited by: Mark Hallam
While you're here: Every Tuesday, DW editors round up what is happening in German politics and society. You can sign up here for the weekly email newsletter Berlin Briefing.