One dead after tornado hits eastern states

Saxony and Brandenburg began cleaning up on Tuesday morning after severe weather and a tornado tore through the two eastern German states on Monday evening, killing a young girl, injuring 38 and causing major property damage.

One dead after tornado hits eastern states
A damaged roof in Mühlberg. Photo: DPA

The Pentecost holiday weekend came to a violent end as a tornado ripped a path of destruction between the southern Brandenburg town of Mühlberg and the Saxon district of Großenhain. A police spokesperson said two storm fronts caused hurricane-strength winds in the region.

Click here for a gallery of the storm damage.

In Großenhain a six-year-old girl was killed when an uprooted tree fell on a car in which she was sitting. Meanwhile local homes in the town of 20,000 sustained heavy roof damage and national rail carrier Deutsche Bahn reported substantial delays caused by damage along train tracks.

The town of Mühlberg was hit particularly hard by the tornado, with tiled roofs on at least 20 homes reportedly destroyed. The steeple of the town’s church was also heavily damaged. Countless trees were also uprooted, making many streets impassable. A nearby bridge over the Elbe River had to be closed due to damage.

Power and telephone service was also reportedly out in the region following the storm.

Commuters on Tuesday morning should expect delays due to road damage and clean-up efforts in Großenhain, Radeberg and Leppersdorf, a traffic warning service spokesperson said. Continued train delays were also expected.

Click here for The Local’s weather forecast.

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2022 sees record wildfire destruction in Europe: 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.

2022 sees record wildfire destruction in Europe: 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.