Southwest Germany reeling from storm

Emergency services were working flat out on Saturday to restore order to southwest Germany after storms with hailstones the size of tennis balls injured people, killed zoo animals, and stopped traffic.

Southwest Germany reeling from storm
Photo: DPA

On Saturday morning, the train line leading from Würzburg to Frankfurt remained closed after fallen trees damaged power lines. Other routes in the southwest were affected by numerous delays.

Overnight storms stretched emergency services to their limit, with 1,300 emergency calls being registered within just two hours in the city of Münster alone. Residents watched as their basements filled with water, their streets flooded, and their cars took a beating from the massive hailstones.

The zoo in Krefeld was particularly hard hit. Nine of the park’s flamingos and several chickens and ducks were killed after being hit by hailstones. A zoo spokesman said four of the flamingos were killed when hit on the head, and five suffered such severe bone fractures that they had to be put down.

Storms and flash floods began lashing Germany Thursday evening as hot, humid summer weather arrived.