Heavy wind storms rage through Germany

Low-pressure system “Ludwig” tore through much of southern and central Germany overnight, tearing up trees by their roots and causing property damage, the German Weather Service (DWD) reported on Tuesday.

Heavy wind storms rage through Germany
Photo: DPA

Altitudes above 800 metres in the states of Bavaria, Baden-Württemberg, Hesse, Thuringia, Saxony-Anhalt and Saxony were hit particularly hard, the DWD said. The Harz mountain range, which runs through central Germany, saw winds of up to 158 kilometres per hour. Meanwhile the Feldberg, the highest mountain in the Black Forest, experienced winds of up to 126 kilometres per hour.

Police reported uprooted trees and street signals that caused traffic delays, as well as damaged roofs – but no injuries.

Heavy rain in Hamburg overnight caused widespread flooding in the northern city, according to a spokesperson for the fire department. Emergency services received 91 calls within a three-hour period to deal with the weather chaos.

Particularly precarious was the situation at a construction site near the city’s opera, where a 55-metre wide and 10-metre deep pit threatened to flood completely. The fire department feared rain water could cause a concrete wall to collapse under the strain. The structure was saved only with 30 loads of sandbags and 50 cubic metres of gravel.

High winds and rain are expected to continue on Tuesday and in the coming days, but temperatures will remain mild, the DWD said from its headquarters in Offenbach.

Scattered showers will take place across the country and move northeast as the day wears on, while temperatures will range from between 10 and 15 degrees Celsius. Gale force winds could hit high altitudes and coastal areas.

The wind will continue into Wednesday, where severe gusts are expected along the northern coast. Meanwhile comfortable temperatures, cloud cover and more rain are set to make midweek gloomy but bearable.

Click here for The Local’s weather forecast.

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Europe facing record year for wildfire destruction: EU

Europe's blistering summer may not be over yet, but 2022 is already breaking records, with nearly 660,000 hectares ravaged since January, according to the EU's satellite monitoring service.

Europe facing record year for wildfire destruction: EU

And while countries on the Mediterranean have normally been the main seats of fires in Europe, this year, other countries are also suffering heavily.

Fires this year have forced people to flee their homes, destroyed buildings and burned forests in EU countries, including Austria, Croatia, France, Greece, Italy, Portugal and Spain.

Some 659,541 hectares (1.6 million acres) have been destroyed so far, data from the European Forest Fire Information System (EFFIS) showed, setting a record at this point in the year since data collection began in 2006.

Europe has suffered a series of heatwaves, forest fires and historic drought that experts say are being driven by human-induced climate change.

They warn more frequent and longer heatwaves are on the way.

The worst-affected country has been Spain, where fire has destroyed 244,924 hectares, according to EFFIS data.

The EFFIS uses satellite data from the EU’s Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service (CAMS).

READ ALSO: EXPLAINED: How the climate crisis is hitting Europe hard

The data comes after CAMS said Friday that 2022 was a record year for wildfire activity in southwestern Europe and warned that a large proportion of western Europe was now in “extreme fire danger”.

“2022 is already a record year, just below 2017,” EFFIS coordinator Jesus San-Miguel said. In 2017, 420,913 hectares had burned by August 13, rising to 988,087 hectares by the end of the year.

“The situation in terms of drought and extremely high temperatures has affected all of Europe this year and the overall situation in the region is worrying, while we are still in the middle of the fire season,” he said.

Since 2010, there had been a trend towards more fires in central and northern Europe, with fires in countries that “normally do not experience fires in their territory”, he added.

“The overall fire season in the EU is really driven mainly by countries in the Mediterranean region, except in years like this one, in which fires also happen in central and northern regions,” he added.