(Update: dead and wounded)
OFFENBACH / BERLIN (dpa-AFX) – Thunderstorms, heavy rains and hurricanes have caused severe damage in parts of Germany. First of all, it hit North Rhine-Westphalia: according to police in the Paderborn area, 30 to 40 people were injured during a violent storm, of which at least ten were seriously injured. The German Weather Service (DWD) has received several reports of suspected tornadoes, a DWD spokesman said. However, these reports still need to be checked. There were restrictions on Deutsche Bahn’s long-distance services.
In North Rhine-Westphalia, heavy rains and hurricanes caused chaos, especially in Lippstadt and Paderborn. “During a Friday afternoon lightning storm, a tornado cut a path of destruction from west to east through the center of Paderborn towards the eastern parts of the city,” police said in the early evening. Officials have reported millions of damages. After the storm, shocked tenants in Paderborn threw bricks from the damaged roofs to garbage dumps in the evening. In an industrial area, halls were ripped off the roofs, and sheets and insulation were flown for miles, police said.
The fire department also reported a suspected tornado in Lippstadt some 35 kilometers away which caused severe damage. A spokesman for the fire department said roofs and fallen trees were damaged across the city. Windows were shattering and cars were smashed by falling branches. The municipality of Altenbeken near Paderborn reported that some trees had already broken on the trunk – as if struck by a giant’s hand. A spokesman for the North Rhine-Westphalia Ministry of the Interior said there were no known sites other than Paderborn and Lippstadt that had been hit in a similar fashion.
In parts of the federal state, the DWD issued an official severe weather warning due to severe thunderstorms following the Emmelinde lowlands. Meteorologists later extended the alert to parts of Rhineland-Palatinate, Thuringia, Bavaria, Saxony, Saxony-Anhalt, Lower Saxony, and Baden-Württemberg.
The railway line between Paderborn and Altenbeken had to be closed due to trees and trees on the tracks. Regional and long-distance traffic will suffer, trains will be redirected, said the spokesman for the railways. On the Cologne – Wuppertal – Dortmund / Hamm route, ICE and IC trains between Cologne and Dortmund were routed via Dsseldorf. On the route between Cologne / Dsseldorf and Berlin, ICE trains did not run between Bielefeld and Hanover due to medical intervention. Initially, it was unknown if the operation was related to the storm.
In Rhineland-Palatinate and Saarland, despite severe storms, there was no major damage until evening. Police and rescuers reported single fallen trees, damage to cars due to hail and flooding of cellars. In Rhineland-Palatinate, a man was killed when he entered a flooded basement: the 38-year-old suffered an electric shock, fell and probably hit his head, police said.
In central Franconia, Bavaria, 14 people were injured when a wooden hut collapsed in a storm, including several children. A 37-year-old woman was taken to the clinic with serious injuries, a police spokeswoman said. The accident happened Friday evening in Spalt (Roth) near the Great Brombachsee. According to a police spokeswoman, several holidaymakers sought refuge in a hut of about 85 square meters due to the impending storm in Bavaria. For unknown reasons, it then tilted to the side and collapsed.
Even before the storm started at the beginning of the weekend, there were disturbances in many places in Germany. According to the district authorities, school lessons in the district of Cologne ended at 11.30 am so that the students could safely return home. In Rhineland-Palatinate, all schools sponsored by the Ahrweiler district remained closed. In mid-July 2021, 134 people died and thousands of homes were damaged in the flooding of the Ahr River Valley after extremely heavy rains. To this day, many people live in alternative neighborhoods.
Many events were canceled just in case. The thanksgiving ceremony planned in Bad Mnstereifel with Cardinal Rainer Maria Woelka for the flood assistants in July last year has been canceled. In Cologne, incl. the zoo and forest botanical garden as well as cemeteries should remain closed to visitors from the afternoon. Fun fact: In Solingen, the Christmas market, which has been canceled due to the corona virus, is only to be postponed to Saturday, one day later than planned.
Severe thunderstorms had already passed through West Germany on Thursday, but the damage was less severe than feared. At times, rail traffic to the Netherlands was intermittent. There were also severe storms in the north. Thunderstorms and thunderstorms triggered hundreds of calls to the fire brigade in Lower Saxony.
And it should be: The German Weather Service is expecting a storm in the south on Saturday night. Otherwise, storms should move towards Poland and the weather will calm down from the west. On Saturday, there may still be single short thunderstorms with stormy winds in the Northeast that will subside in the afternoon. / Kie / DP / he