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LIGHTNING

Man dies as violent storm hits Germany

A violent thunderstorm swept through Germany on Thursday night, uprooting trees, flooding houses and causing massive transport disruption. An elderly man died when his basement flooded, while several more people were injured.

Man dies as violent storm hits Germany
Photo: DPA

Emergency services said most of the serious injuries were of pedestrians or drivers struck by falling trees and flying branches. Many roads had to be closed due to flooding.

In the Karlsruhe area in the south-western state of the Baden-Württemberg alone, emergency services responded to 650 calls in the space of just two hours. One driver narrowly escaped injury when her car was struck by a children’s trampoline which had been blown over a garden wall.

In Bavaria, a quad driver suffered serious head wounds when he was hit by a branch while two men who were struck by lightning escaped with relatively minor injuries.

And in Münster in North Rhine-Westphalia, an 80-year-old man died while battling water which had flooded his basement. Further east in Bielefeld, seven cars got stuck in a flooded underpass. One woman was rescued by boat from the roof of her car.

In Berlin, a suburban commuter train was derailed when it hit a tree which had collapsed onto the tracks. More than 1,000 fire fighters worked throughout the night in the capital.

The German Weather Service (DWD) had even issued a tornado alert which stayed in effect until Friday morning, by which time the situation had calmed.

The storm came after the country experienced two very hot days, with temperatures of more than 35 degrees. The coming few days are expected to be cooler, with temperatures in the mid-twenties, with a further cooling expected early next week.

DPA/The Local/kkf

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WEATHER

Snowfall due at the weekend as winter arrives in Germany

After a cold blast at the end of November, winter in Germany is set to begin with yet more snow, making it the perfect time to dig out a puffer coat and get out to Christmas market.

Snowfall due at the weekend as winter arrives in Germany

German punctuality has struck once again as winter looks set to arrive right on cue this year, with a flurry of snowfall, ice and frosty conditions in several regions of the country.

According to the German Weather Service (DWD), Saxony-Anhalt could see the mercury drop as low as -6C on Friday as snow continues to fall until the afternoon. The Harz mountains will also get a festive dusting of snow, with temperatures ranging from -1 to -3C in the coming days.   

Saturday is set to be overcast in the region with up to 5cm of snowfall, but things could dry up on Sunday as temperatures rise to a nippy 1-3C. The eastern states of Saxony and Thuringia can also expect icy conditions and snow over the weekend.

In North Rhine-Westphalia, snow is also expected at higher altitudes. In eastern Westphalia and in the Sauerland region, there could be light snowfall or sleet, DWD reported on Friday. Drivers and cyclists should exercise caution as roads are likely to become slippery due to fresh snow or freezing rain.

DWD explains that two high-pressure areas are currently causing colder winds to sweep across Germany. The first, which caused snow to fall overnight across central Germany, is gradually heading south towards France – though the second is set to bring another icy spell to the country on Friday evening and into Saturday.

Bavaria will be the first to experience the chill as the high-pressure zone travels across the Alps overnight. 

The southern state is likely to have a soggy start to the weekend, with rain falling at lower altitudes – though more hilly and mountainous areas will see some snow. But as temperatures drop during the night, residents of Bavaria could see as much as 5cm as snow on Saturday morning.

READ ALSO: Surviving winter: 8 tips for enjoying the cold like a true German

The rest of the weekend will likely be marked by uniform grey skies, frost and drizzle, though those lucky enough to live in an Alpine region could see a few precious rays of sunshine too.

The weather will also take a distinctly wintry turn in Berlin and Brandenburg over the weekend, as the cold front sweeps across northeastern Germany on Saturday and towards the Baltic Sea. 

Friday is likely to be mostly chilly and overcast, with occasional rain or sleet and maximum temperatures of 2C. 

In the night, however, southern Brandenburg will start to see some fresh snowfall, which will move up across Berlin and to the north of Brandenburg over the course of Saturday.

Snow falls outside the Reichstag in Berlin

Snow falls outside the Reichstag in Berlin on Wednesday. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Christoph Soeder

Berliners should be sure to wrap up if they’re heading out to enjoy the festive scenes, since the mercury is likely to hover between zero and -2C. 

Will the snow settle? 

Unfortunately the dusting of white is unlikely to stick around long in most places – so make your snow angels while you can. 

Misty or overcast skies will return on Advent Sunday, while occasional drizzle could well turn Saturday’s snow into slush. Hilly and mountainous regions will be the only ones treated to an extra helping of snow.

Meanwhile, Monday is set to get off to a soggy and wet start, with rainfall in most regions and temperatures between 1C and 5C. 

READ ALSO: Will Germany see more snow this winter?

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