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Three dead as floods wreak havoc in southern Germany

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Three dead as floods wreak havoc in southern Germany
The aftermath in the town of Braunsbach. Photo: DPA
09:01 CEST+02:00
At least three people have lost their lives as extreme weather, including flash floods, hail storms and lightning storms wreaked havoc in southern Germany on Sunday evening.

The states of Baden-Württemberg and Bavaria were struggling to cope with the results of destructive storms on Monday morning.

In Schwäbisch Gmünd in Baden-Württemberg a firefighter died on Sunday while trying to dig a stranded person out of trouble. The person he was trying to save is also likely dead, authorities said on Sunday evening.

In Heilbronn, meanwhile, police also confirmed that one person died after being trapped in an underground garage during flooding.

“We are using all the resources we have,” a police spokesperson in the town said of the flooding. “It's not looking good here, it's looking really bad.”

Videos uploaded to the internet show torrential rain and powerful flash floods dragging everything that wasn't fixed to the ground with them.

The number of casualties has not yet been confirmed by the state interior ministry in Baden-Württemberg.

Police in the wealthy south-western state took thousands of emergency calls. In Ulm alone authorities recorded 490 emergency calls in a five-hour period.

In Biberach a landslide dragged trees and mud onto an industrial area.

The Autobahn between Giengen und Oberkochen had to been shut down after hail stones covered it to ankle height, with snow ploughs brought in to clear the asphalt.

In the town of Künzelsau the major talked of a “natural disaster” after several roads had to be closed down while debris was cleared away.

Particularly badly affected was the town of Braunsbach in the north of Baden-Württemberg. Local police spoke of wide-scale destruction after a river burst its banks.

Video footage from the town shows the terrifying strength of the flooding as it surged through the streets. Much of the area had to be evacuated but there were no deaths reported.

In Bavaria storms also caused massive damage.

In Ansbach whole streets were flooded and powerful water flows ripped cars along with them. Some houses north of the town were so badly damaged that they could now collapse. Emergency services are now working to prop up the structures.

There were no deaths reported in the town.

On Saturday 35 people, including ten children, were injured when lightning struck a sports pitch in the west of the country.

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