Storm Yulia blows away some Carnival plans in Germany, Netherlands

High winds and heavy rains from Storm Yulia have wreaked havoc on Carnival plans across Germany as well as in the Netherlands. 

The German Meteorological Service (DWD) on Sunday warned of high winds and almost non-stop rain throughout the states of North Rhine Westphalia and Lower Saxony, across central Germany to Saxony.

A much-loved Carnival parade in the western German city of Dusseldorf was cancelled on Sunday amid the threat of high winds, but Monday’s parade remains on schedule, the organizing committee said.

In Cologne, where hundreds of thousands were expected to attend the Carnival celebrations that mark the start of the Christian fasting season of Lent, parades were trimmed down but still on for Sunday.

Several smaller parades were also cancelled or cut short.

The Cologne Carnival Festival Committee said it expects to be able to parade through the city as planned. The Cologne procession on Shrove Monday, known as Rose Monday in Germany, is less susceptible to storms than the one in Dusseldorf, known for its tall floats.

DWD warned of gusts of up to 100 kilometres per hour in the central state of Thuringia, with hurricane-force winds possible in the mountains above 800 metres.

The largest Thuringian Carnival procession, however, was to pass through Erfurt as planned starting Sunday at noon. But the traditional street parade in Heiligenstadt on Sunday was cancelled, according to police reports, and locals would instead celebrate in the town hall.

The Carnival organizers in Ilmenau and Diedorf in Thuringia also pulled the plug. “There are things between heaven and earth that even we cannot influence,” the Diedorfer Carnival Association said on its Facebook page.

Dozens of Carnival parades were also called off in the Netherlands due to high winds.

In the southern provinces of Limburg and Brabant alone, about 80 parades were cancelled, local media reported Sunday. That included the parade in Oldenzaal, which attracts 100,000 people each year.
In Maastricht, the Carnival parade happened without the traditional big floats. Many municipalities moved their parades to Shrove Monday or Tuesday.

Storm Yulia is to be followed promptly by the next low-pressure system, named Zehra, on Monday, DWD said. Germany can expect more rain and some thunderstorms on Tuesday and Ash Wednesday as well as cooling temperatures. Above 300 metres, some areas might experience rain mixed with snow.

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