At least one person is dead and 40 injured after high winds created three tornadoes that swept through western Germany, damaging property and sending debris flying for miles.
People have been warned to stay home as trees were felled and roofs ripped off during gale force winds kicked up when a plume of hot air from Africa collided with cooler air from northern Europe.
The German Weather Service confirmed three tornadoes in North Rhine-Westphalia – in Paderborn, in nearby Lippstadt and on the outskirts of the town of Höxter, the dpa news agency reported.
German authorities said ten of those injured were seriously injured. Despite photos on social media, the German Weather Service did not immediately confirm that a tornado had occurred.
A 38-year-old man in the far western town of Wittgert died of head injuries sustained when he fell after being electrocuted in a flooded basement, local media quoted police as saying.
Police said up to 40 people were injured in Paderborn, a town of around 150,000 people halfway between Frankfurt and Hamburg. Rail and road traffic has been disrupted across the region.
In nearby Hellinghausen, images shared on social media showed a steeple had been torn from the roof of a steeple and its remains were scattered in the churchyard.
Police released images showing trees felled or split in half and roofs blown from tiles by the wind in Paderborn.
“Around 40 people were injured in the storm, at least 10 of them seriously,” the Metropolitan Police said in a statement. “Tarpaulins and insulation were blown away for miles. Countless roofs are uncovered or damaged. Many trees are still on destroyed cars.”
Police urged residents to stay home. The German Weather Service warned that the stormy weather will continue.
Residents of Lippstadt, a town about 22 miles west of Paderborn, were hit by heavy rain and hail as the weather system wreaked havoc in towns in the west of the country. A church tower in the city was toppled.
In Cologne, schools closed before noon to give students time to get home safely before the storm hit. Meteorologists said the stormy weather is likely to continue in the coming days.
The weather in Germany is in stark contrast to conditions in Spain, which is experiencing an extreme heat wave. The warm weather is caused by a mass of hot, dry air carrying dust from North Africa.
It has pushed temperatures about 15°C above average, with thermometers topping 40°C (104°F) in some regions. The state weather agency said it expected “unusual and extreme” temperatures to peak on Saturday. “This will likely be among the warmest temperatures we’ve seen in May of the 21st century,” said agency spokesman Ruben del Campo.
https://www.independent.co.uk/climate-change/news/germany-tornado-weather-man-dead-b2084184.html Tornadoes in Germany leave one dead and at least 40 injured