Heavy storms flood streets, kill one in west Germany

Thunderstorms across western Germany on Wednesday night left one woman dead, as well as streets and basements flooded, while lightning strikes started fires in other places.

Heavy storms flood streets, kill one in west Germany
A cyclist tries to ride through the flooded streets of Cologne on Wednesday. Photo: DPA.

One 51-year-old woman in Dortmund died during the storms when a tree fell over onto her. Police believe that the tree was knocked over by the wind and rain amid the thunderstorm.

In Cologne, firefighters were called to around 550 operations alone. Streets and basements there flooded, and air as well as train travel was delayed.

Numerous cars on the streets were also left partially submerged in water, and one underground garage had water measuring 1.5 metres high.

Water also covered the floor in parts of the central train station, as pictured below.

Flights at Cologne Bonn airport were interrupted for 90 minutes due to the weather, with 15 taking off late and 14 flights arriving late. One flight to Munich was also cancelled. After a tree fell onto overhead wiring for a train line going from Bonn to Koblenz, some train journeys were cancelled and others were delayed.

One of Germany’s four biggest folk festivals, Düsseldorf’s Rheinkirmes, was interrupted for about two hours due to the storms. But by 5.45pm, it had resumed.

Meanwhile in Baden-Württemberg, the Hohentwielfestival music festival with 3,200 visitors ended prematurely as the guests were told to leave due to the heavy wind and rain.

Elsewhere in Lower Saxony, lightning strikes sparked several fires on agricultural land, which firefighters had to put out overnight. No one was injured, according to police.

The German Weather Service (DWD) predicts the stormy weather will continue into Thursday, with rain or thunderstorms expected to fall in nearly every part of the country by the end of the day.

By Friday morning, the rain clouds are expected to be cleared away, says DWD, though the southwest of the country around Stuttgart and Konstanz are forecast to be hit by more thunderstorms on Friday evening.

Saturday is predicted to be rainy and stormy across most of the country again, though as of Thursday, DWD predicts the area around Munich to be virtually the only dry spot at the start of the weekend. This won’t last, however: the Bavarian capital will join the rest of Germany in having a very wet Sunday.


Will Germany see more snow this winter?

Over the weekend, large parts of Germany saw early snowfall, but will it continue throughout the winter?

Will Germany see more snow this winter?

Many parts of Germany experienced an early white Christmas over the weekend, as snow fell from Berlin to the Baltic Sea. Hesse also saw at least the first swirl of snowflakes and there was light snow in the Siegerland and the Hochsauerland districts of North Rhine-Westphalia.

Some areas of the country were hit particularly hard by the snow – a few centimetres of snow fell in Kassel, while large parts of Bavaria experienced heavy snowfall on Saturday.

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

There were also numerous accidents on icy roads in North Rhine-Westphalia, Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, Schleswig-Holstein and Bavaria. 

Will there be more snowfall this week?

Snowfall is expected at the beginning of the week in some areas in Thuringia and Saxony, while further south, there is likely to be snowfall only at high altitudes – such as in the Bavarian Alps.

Snow lies on the beach in Zingst, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Georg Moritz

In the coming days, temperatures will rise again and the weather will become milder. According to the German Weather Service (DWD) temperatures will hover between 5C and 12C for most of the country, while only the northeast and east see maximum temperatures of 0C to 4C.

Will there be more snow this winter?

2022 has already broken weather records in Germany – the period from January to the end of October was the warmest since weather records began almost 140 years ago.

READ ALSO: ‘A glimpse into our climate future’: Germany logs warmest October on record

Various weather models have already simulated the coming winter in Europe and Germany and provide estimations on how much warmer the coming winter is likely to be than from the years 1961 to 1990.

The models created by NASA, DWD, and the Climate Forecast System all agree that trend of rising temperatures will probably continue over the winter. Between December and February, it’s expected that the mercury will be between 1C and 3C higher than it was between 1961 and 1990. 

Meteorologist Corinna Borau from told the Frankfurter Rundschau that she thinks that it’s extremely unlikely that there will be further snowfall in December in Germany.

“If the month looks rather dry and too mild overall, then we can’t expect large amounts of snow” Borau said. 

According to Borau, January is unlikely to be a “snow bomb” either, though it will still “feel like winter” and snow is only expected to fall sporadically. In February, however, the chances of snowfall are higher than in previous months.