Violent storms cause chaos, two deaths

Violent storms cause chaos, two deaths
Photo: DPA
Heavy thunderstorms that sometimes included hail, flooded streets, knocked out power, closed airports and lead to the deaths of two people Friday evening and Saturday morning.

One woman was killed by a lightning strike near the town of Ludwigsburg in Baden-Württemberg, police reported Saturday. A fireman in a nearby town was also killed by a lightning strike while pumping out flooded water. Several others were injured by lightning across the region, including five campers in Rhineland-Palatinate.

“It was bad. We’ve never had something like this before,” a police spokeman in the town of Neuss told the DPA press agency.

The German Weather Service (DWD) said the current hot and humid weather was contributing to the violent storms.

Düsseldorf’s airport was shut down due to the storms for an hour and a half on what was one of the heaviest travel days of the year. Two aircraft were diverted to the Cologne-Bonn airport and others were forced to circle the Düsseldorf airport until it could be reopened.

Power outages and flooding shut down the Porsche factory in Stuttgart, requiring emergency repairs to the facility over the weekend before production can resume again Monday, a company spokesman said.

In Düsseldorf alone, firefighters received over 450 emergency calls. A major autobahn was shut in both directions due to flooding and train service was delayed due to flooding and debris on the tracks. Traffic was disrupted as far away as Munich, where S-Bahn and long-distance train services were delayed.

The German Weather service warned that conditions would remain muggy and could lead to more heavy storms with hail and lightning on Saturday.

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