Dozens hurt as a tornado tears over western Germany, creating a "path of destruction"

Uprooted beech trees lie on the side of a road the day after a storm caused major damage, near Hellinghausen-Lippstadt, (Photo: INA FASSBENDER/AFP/Getty)

According to local authorities, dozens of people were injured after a tornado raced through cities in western Germany.

DPA reported that the German Weather Service confirmed three tornadoes in North Rhine-Westphalia – at Paderborn, adjacent Lippstadt, and on the outskirts of Hoexter.

They blew down roofs, brought down trees, and scattered debris for kilometers.

According to Paderborn police, 43 persons were hurt in the city's storm. Thirty were hospitalized, and ten of those were in critical condition.

According to authorities, one woman was in a life-threatening situation.

The BBC quoted the Paderborn police saying, "Sheet metal, insulation, and other materials were blown kilometers away." Numerous roofs are either covered or severely damaged, and many trees still rest atop demolished automobiles."

On Friday, western and central Germany had heavy rains and hail, and a man is said to have died in the 81 mph storms elsewhere.

According to local media, the 38-year-old man died in Wittgert after receiving an electric shock in a flooded cellar.

In addition, heavy storm damage was reported in the nearby city of Lippstadt. The town's church steeple collapsed, and according to the German news agency DPA, more than 100 people were temporarily trapped in an outdoor pool after fallen trees blocked the escape.

Authorities in Bavaria reported that 14 people were injured on Friday when the wooden house they were seeking refuge in near Lake Brombach, south of Nuremberg, fell during a storm. Several youngsters and a 37-year-old lady with life-threatening injuries were evacuated to the hospital.

Thursday's storms in western Germany delayed traffic, uprooted trees that fell into railway tracks and highways, and flooded hundreds of basements.

Police reported that two French nationals perished when their motorized paraglider was struck by a strong gust of wind shortly after takeoff at an airfield in Ballenstedt, 177 kilometers south-southwest of Berlin, on Thursday.

Police in Saxony-Anhalt reported that the two, both 59 years old, were advised to land due to the forecast of a sudden weather change.

Shortly after the warning, "they appear to have been struck by a gust of wind that caused the paraglider to collapse," police added. The air vehicle then plummeted onto a field from approximately 40 meters (131 feet).

Before lunchtime, schools in Cologne closed in the western city so pupils could make it home safely before the storms came.

Further south, all schools in the county of Ahrweiler were closed on Friday. In July of last summer, a flash flood swept through the region, killing more than 130 people.

Publish : 2022-05-21 19:56:00

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