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Toll mounts in 'black wall' storms

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Toll mounts in 'black wall' storms
Photo: DPA
08:07 CEST+02:00
At least three people are now confirmed dead, and dozens injured, by the howling storms that hit northwestern Germany late Monday.

The storms, which also caused tens of millions of euros in damage, appear to have exhausted their wrath on the states of North Rhine-Westphalia and Lower Saxony as well as coastal regions.

Most of Germany was calm overnight, broadcaster RTL reported. Central Germany, despite heavy rain, experienced little of the damage wrought on the northwest.

Nevertheless, eastern regions could expect some powerful storms Tuesday, the broadcaster reported.

In Berlin, storm showers on Tuesday would bring only mild relief from the heat, with the maximum still likely to reach 30 degrees Celsius. From Wednesday it would begin to climb again, the German Weather Service (DWD) warned.

A second heatwave is looming – and this could be followed by more summer storms, DWD meterologist Andreas Friedrich told daily Bild.

“Storms are moving towards us from France. These could bring new tornadoes,” he said.

Two women were killed in Lower Saxony Monday afternoon when they were struck by falling tree branches, one in Nordhorn and the other in Weener.

In the Nordhorn case, a 47-year-old woman died when a tree branch fell on a house at which she had taken shelter from the storm while out riding her bike with her dog.

In Cologne, a woman on a scooter, 54, was hit by a truck and killed after she took shelter under a bridge from a tornado.

The strong winds also caused a tornado that ripped through a camp site on the North Sea island of Helgoland, injuring 11 people, at least two of them seriously.

An aeroplane at the Helgoland airfield was caught in a squall, with witnesses reporting seeing a “black wall” approaching.

Restaurant owner Lutz Hardersen, 68, said: “It looked like a bomb attack. It's all in ruins. At our place, the walls are pushed in. Beach chairs flew 100 metres.”

In the Leer district of Lower Saxony, a freight ship was smashed into the dock, as gales of up to 110 kilometres an hour wrenched it free of its mooring, causing damage of €1 million.

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