Torrential rain swamps Berlin’s streets, stretches firefighters to limits

Torrential rain swamps Berlin’s streets, stretches firefighters to limits
A car drives along Yorkstrasse in Berlin. Photo: DPA
Hours of monsoon-style rain in Berlin on Thursday flooded busy streets and led trees to collapse onto train lines.

The rain started shortly after midday and still hadn’t stopped by the evening. Much of the inner city had been brought to a standstill late on Thursday, with water levels often reaching up to knee height, while sirens wailed up and down the main streets.

Shortly before 9pm, the fire services reported that they had been called out 2,000 times during the day, a level of operations normally only seen on New Year, Tagesspiegel reports.

Volunteer fire teams were also called in to support their professional colleagues in pumping water away from streets and out of cellars, with 700 fire personnel on operation.

The capital’s transport network also took a beating in the storms. The Autobahn in the south of the city was blocked off at the Alboinstraße exit in Tempelhof, leading to a huge tailback of traffic. The A100, one of the busiest roads in Germany, was also shut down in the west of the city near the Funkturm.

Flooding also caused streets to be closed down in several other locations across the city. In York Strasse the water on the road underneath the S-Bahn line was so deep that cars could no longer drive through it on Thursday evening.

The Berlin Transport Company (BVG) also announced that the U9 metro line had been partially closed. Meanwhile the S-Bahn line S25 was shut down in the north of the city after a tree fell onto the track.

At some U-Bahn stations the flooding was so severe that the water levels rose above the platforms. At many stations trains simply drove straight through without stopping.

Flights were cancelled at Tegel Airport, while inbound flights were redirected.

In Charlottenburg, in the west of the city, a building was evacuated after fire services deemed it at risk of collapsing.

One particularly dramatic video posted to Facebook showed a bus flooded with water and passengers having to hold their feet up to avoid a soaking.

The bad news? There is no end in sight.

Forecasters predict heavy downfalls on Thursday evening in Hamburg, Lower Saxony, Schleswig-Holstein and Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania.

And on Friday the south of Germany will have to brace itself for the vicious weather. Heavy rain and gusts of up to 75 km/h are predicted for Baden-Württemberg.