“Stay off the roads”: Dutch ready 900 snow plows, salt trucks for rush hour

Rijkswaterstaat trucks working to clear snowy roads
Rijkswaterstaat trucks working to clear snowy roadsPhoto: @RWS_verkeer / Twitter

Update 13:00 - The KMNI scaled up its weather warning to a code red, warning that some places in the country may get up to 15 centimeters of snow today. "Great danger of problems and injury due to slippery roads. Major risks for road users. Risk of large-scale disruption to public transport. Do not travel unless strictly necessary. Follow weather reports and warnings." the institute writes. 

Snow has started to fall in the south of the country, and it will move through the rest of the Netherlands in the coming hours. Dutch public works department Rijkswaterstaat reiterated its warning for motorists to stay off the roads, speaking of "very dangerous conditions", NOS reports.

Dutch public works department Rijkswaterstaat deployed 900 salt trucks and snow plows and 1,200 people to keep the roads in the Netherlands as accessible as possible on Monday. Between 5 and 10 centimeters of snow is expected to fall during the afternoon, which can cause major problems on the roads during evening rush hour. 

"The KMNI expects that it will snow heavily in a large part of the country in the course of Monday. This can lead to very dangerous driving conditions and major delays, especially during evening rush hour", Rijkswaterstaat said in a statement. "Road users who do get into the car are advised to keep a close eye on the weather forecasts and traffic information, and to adapt their driving style to the circumstances. That means keeping a sufficient distance and driving slowly."

NS also advises travelers to go home as early as possible. The rail company expects the weather to cause major disruptions on the tracks this afternoon, and is therefore already running fewer trains. NS urgently advises travelers to take this into account and to coordinate their journey accordingly.

From noon a code orange weather warning is in effect in the southern provinces. Meteorological institute KMNI issues a code orange warning when there is a great chance of dangerous or extreme weather conditions. From 2:00 p.m. the code orange warning also applies to the Netherlands' central regions and from 5:00 p.m. also to the northern provinces. The snowfall is expected to last well into the evening. 

Schiphol also advises passengers to take flight delays, cancelations and longer travel times to the airport into account this afternoon, a spokesperson said to NOS. KLM already canceled almost 300 flights for today. 

Despite the weather, morning rush hour in the Netherlands was "almost normal", and seemed even quieter than usual on Monday morning, the ANWB said. According to the association, this was because many people followed the advice to stay off the roads. Public transit was busier than normal. 

Between 8:00 p.m. on Saturday and 4:00 p.m. on Sunday the Rijkswaterstaat gritters poured 11.4 million kilograms of salt over 162,414 kilometers of Dutch roads. Today too the department's snow plows and salt trucks are working to keep the roads as clear as possible. Rijkswaterstaat also deployed its emergency machines, which fight icy roads by spraying a hot salt solution onto the ice.

Despite these efforts, a few motorists still fell victim to the icy roads on Monday morning. The driver of a Porsche Panamera GTS crashed into a bus in Arnhem, the Gelderlander reports. The driver lost control of the expensive car when turning from Velperweg onto Ir J.P. van Muijlwijkstraat due to the frozen road. As far as is known, no one was injured. But both vehicles sustained major damage. 

The police found the body of a man and a car in the Oranjekanaal near Oranje on Monday morning, the Drenthe police said on Twitter. The police identified the victim and informed his family. It is not yet clear whether the car ended up in the canal due to the icy roads.