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A sign advises motorists of road conditions at Grafenwohr Training Area on Thursday. The second major snowfall in Germany this week forced military leaders to close posts and schools at Grafenwohr, Vilseck and Hohenfels and order a two-hour work and school delay in Stuttgart, Ansbach and Kaiserslautern.

A sign advises motorists of road conditions at Grafenwohr Training Area on Thursday. The second major snowfall in Germany this week forced military leaders to close posts and schools at Grafenwohr, Vilseck and Hohenfels and order a two-hour work and school delay in Stuttgart, Ansbach and Kaiserslautern. (Seth Robson/Stars and Stripes)

A sign advises motorists of road conditions at Grafenwohr Training Area on Thursday. The second major snowfall in Germany this week forced military leaders to close posts and schools at Grafenwohr, Vilseck and Hohenfels and order a two-hour work and school delay in Stuttgart, Ansbach and Kaiserslautern.

A sign advises motorists of road conditions at Grafenwohr Training Area on Thursday. The second major snowfall in Germany this week forced military leaders to close posts and schools at Grafenwohr, Vilseck and Hohenfels and order a two-hour work and school delay in Stuttgart, Ansbach and Kaiserslautern. (Seth Robson/Stars and Stripes)

A snowplow clears a parking lot at Grafenwohr Training Area on Thursday.  The second major snow storm in Germany this week forced military leaders to close posts and schools at Grafenwohr, Vilseck and Hohenfels.

A snowplow clears a parking lot at Grafenwohr Training Area on Thursday. The second major snow storm in Germany this week forced military leaders to close posts and schools at Grafenwohr, Vilseck and Hohenfels. (Seth Robson/Stars and Stripes)

Snow covers the water tower at Grafenwohr Training Area on Thursday.  The second major snowfall in Germany this week forced military leaders to close posts and schools at Grafenwohr, Vilseck and Hohenfels and order a two-hour work and school delay in Stuttgart, Ansbach and Kaiserslautern.

Snow covers the water tower at Grafenwohr Training Area on Thursday. The second major snowfall in Germany this week forced military leaders to close posts and schools at Grafenwohr, Vilseck and Hohenfels and order a two-hour work and school delay in Stuttgart, Ansbach and Kaiserslautern. (Seth Robson/Stars and Stripes)

GRAFENWÖHR, Germany — The second major snowfall in Germany this week prompted military leaders to close posts and schools at Grafenwöhr, Vilseck and Hohenfels and order a two-hour work and school delay in Stuttgart, Ansbach and Kaiserslautern.

U.S. Air Force Capt. Shaun Wallace of the 7th Weather Squadron said there was so much snow at Grafenwöhr on Wednesday and Thursday that forecasters couldn’t get to their official monitoring station to check its depth.

Reports phoned in by forecasters suggested an average of 10 inches of snowfall with up to 12 inches in some places in the Oberpfalz region surrounding Grafenwöhr, Vilseck and Hohenfels, he said.

Forecaster John Natalle from the 21st Operational Weather Squadron at Sembach said less than a half-inch fell at Ramstein and 2½ inches fell at Katterbach, the closest weather station to Ansbach. Two inches were reported at Stuttgart last night but forecasters expected that up to five inches would have fallen by the end of the storm, he said.

The storm is the second to hit Germany this week. On Sunday and Monday, 9 inches of snow fell at Grafenwöhr, forcing posts and schools to close early. According to Wallace, more snow is on the way with an additional 4 inches predicted at Grafenwöhr on Sunday and Monday and another major storm due to hit next Wednesday.

The storms are the result of low-pressure weather systems moving across the European Alps and a clash between the Arctic and Polar jet streams, he said.

“When you go from fall into winter the upper atmosphere is usually pretty dynamic,” he said. “It’s a big clash of cold and warm air that comes together and, when that happens, it creates a large amount of precipitation, and in our case it has been in the form of snow.”

Forecasters expect the storms to continue to pass through every three or four days for the next two weeks, Wallace said.

That could lead to record-breaking snowfall in Grafenwöhr, where the average snowfall in December is 9 inches with 32 inches the most recorded there in the past 50 years, he said.

Military Police, who reported at least eight vehicle accidents at Grafenwöhr on Monday, said there was only one accident in the latest storm.

Grafenwöhr Directorate of Plans, Training, Mobilization and Security chief of operations Steve Hood said garrison workers were told on Wednesday to expect a two-hour work delay on Thursday, but U.S. Army Garrison Grafenwöhr Commander Col. Avanulas Smiley decided Wednesday night to close the post entirely.

Mission essential personnel were the only people at work on Thursday, he said.

robsons@estripes.osd.mil

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Seth Robson is a Tokyo-based reporter who has been with Stars and Stripes since 2003. He has been stationed in Japan, South Korea and Germany, with frequent assignments to Iraq, Afghanistan, Haiti, Australia and the Philippines.

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