German cities cancel carnival parades because of gusty winds


BERLIN (AP) – Several cities in western Germany canceled their traditional carnival parades on short-notice Sunday, citing severe weather conditions including gusty winds and heavy rains.

In Cologne, the famous school and neighborhood parades were canceled and in nearby Duesseldorf the carnival celebrations on the city’s glitzy Koenigsallee boulevard were also called off.

“In order to protect all participants along the route, the parades cannot take place,” Cologne city officials said in a statement.

Some of the parades’ participants were already on the way to the celebrations when parts of their costumes were blown away by the wind, the city statement said, explaining its last-minute decision to call off the parades. About 8,000 people were supposed to participate in the Cologne parades, not including tens of thousands of spectators.

Other cities across Germany also canceled their carnival activities due to the storm, including Emmerich, Essen and Salzkotten in the west as well as Heiligenstadt in Thuringia in central Germany.