Rush hour traffic grows as light snow falls across Netherlands

Wet snow falling at Schiphol, 30 Jan 2019
Wet snow falling at Schiphol, 30 Jan 2019Photo: Schiphol/Twitter

A snow front is slowly moving across the Netherlands, and is expected to hover over much of the southern Netherlands by 5 p.m. on Wednesday. The first snow already fell in the southern provinces, but it had caused few problems throughout the day. Some traffic problems are expected during evening rush hour, according to the ANWB, with about 175 kilometers of traffic jams reported by 4:30 p.m.

Problems could potentially mount up on the roadways as snow could continue to dot the skies over Rotterdam and Den Haag through 6 p.m., while Amsterdam could see snowfall as people leave work. Throughout the Utrecht province, snow could continue past 7 p.m., while at the German and Belgian borders snow could continue off-and-on into Thursday morning.

Morning rush hour was quieter than expected. "This morning the snowfall was limited particularly to the parts of the country where traffic is not so busy, such as Limburg and Oost-Brabant", Wijnand Zwaan of the ANWB said to RTL Nieuws. "Tonight problems will arise, especially in Limburg, but also in the middle of the country." 

Dennis Wilt of Buienradar agrees. "You only need a little snow to have a problematic evening rush hour", he said to the broadcaster. According to him, some places in the south of the country can get 5 to 10 centimeters of snow. "Also don't forget the slickness that isn't over after today.  Tonight and tomorrow morning will definitely also be icy."

Meteorological institute KNMI has a code yellow warning in place for the entire country, warning that the roads may be slick or icy due to snowfall. "Adjust your driving behavior. Follow weather reports and warnings." The weather warning is intermittently in effect through noon on Thursday.

NS adjusted the train timetable in anticipation for the snowy weather. 20 percent fewer trains are running on Wednesday. "We have to decide by 16:00 the day before if we are going to use the adapted timetable", a spokesperson for NS explained to RTL. "That is because in the evening the length of trains is adjusted and the trains are set up. That timetable will continue to apply the entire day. So also if the problems aren't too bad."

Schiphol also prepared for the winter weather, warning travelers that there may be delays and cancelations, and having snow plows and employees ready to keep the runways clear of snow if necessary. At 1:50 p.m. Schiphol's site showed three delayed and 10 canceled departures for the rest of the day, and eight delayed and 15 canceled arrivals. Travelers are advised to check the status of their flight before leaving for the airport.

Since midnight, there were 28 arrivals and 28 departures cancelled on Wednesday at the airport.