- Title: GERMANY: Germany braces for weekend with heavy snow
- Date: 9th January 2010
- Summary: WOMAN WITH CHILD WALKING PAST IN ZOO
- Embargoed: 24th January 2010 12:00
- Location: Germany
- Country: Germany
- Topics: Weather
- Reuters ID: LVACUJ0OGSAZTDWN8QVJYTVBVRW8
- Story Text: Germany braced itself for a weekend with heavy snowfall on Friday (January 08) as local authorities reported a dramatic shortage of road salt while sled makers worked at full capacity and shoppers had to resort to plastic sleds instead of conventional ones made from wood.
In the western city of Remscheid, an official in charge of keeping roads clear from snow and ice said he had not seen anything like it in his 25 years in the job.
Dietmar Deller said that 'there were road salt shortages of two or three days but it never happened before that cities were told 'you don't get any salt anymore, even in the coming weeks."
Deller and his men instead use gravel now to keep motorists and pedestrians from skidding on the ice.
In the German capital Berlin, a layer of snow turned much of the city into a winter wonderland, including the local zoo where elephants were treated to a late Christmas feast.
For the past fifteen years, unsold Christmas trees are traditionally donated to some of the animals.
As the zoo's veterinarian Andreas Ochs (pron.: Ox) explained, "it's just like with children: there is a point when the toy is no longer of interest and it's the same here."
"The elephants currently find it exciting and it smells good. They can tear the little tree apart, they can scratch themselves and throw it at each other."
According to Ochs, the trees also serve as toys.
"We are making an exception and playing with food is allowed for once -- but you can't feed them (the trees) all the time," Ochs said, simply because the elephants get tired of them quickly.
Snowfall both in recent days and this coming weekend meanwhile led to a sharp increase in the sale of traditional wooden sleds.
At Berlin's "Galeria Kaufhof" department store, wooden sleds were sold out within days when the first snow arrived between Christmas and the New Year, according to one salesman.
Customer Frank Hinte, a father of two, bought what was left: two plastic sleds, one red, the other purple.
"My children are anxiously waiting (to go sledding)," Hinte said.
"They look out the window every day and tell me 'there is snow. We want to go sledding!' They put me under so much pressure that I sacrificed my lunch break to come here," Hinte said with a smile.
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