Storm and hurricane-force winds kill three people across Germany

Windstorm Sebastian killed at least three people in Germany on Wednesday as hurricane-force winds of up to 150 kilometres per hour were recorded in the north of the country.

Storm and hurricane-force winds kill three people across Germany
A woman in Berlin on Wednesday. Photo: DPA.

A man in a wheelchair was found dead in a river in the northern city of Hamburg, according to local firefighters.

Witnesses saw him fall into the water and despite a rescue effort that included divers, a boat and a helicopter, he could not be saved.

A pedestrian also died in Hamburg after he was hit by scaffolding that fell from the seventh floor of a building, police said. He was taken to hospital where he later died.

A 53-year-old man was the third person to be killed in the storm after being crushed by a tree near the west German spa town Brilon. The man was working in the forest when a 20-metre tall spruce tree fell on him, local police said.

The first autumn storm of the year also managed to uproot numerous trees across Germany. According to the Deutsche Bahn, trees had to be cleared from tracks and damaged overhead lines had to be repaired.

Hundreds of employees were deployed to repair the damage caused by the storm. Deutsche Bahn also provided stranded passengers with accommodation in Bremen, Dortmund, Hamburg and Hanover; some travellers were given soup and drinks.

A number of fire brigades were deployed in East Frisia and Bremen. Many ferry routes in the North Sea were also cancelled.

Several regions of Germany have issued warnings advising residents to stay home while emergency services clear roads and fix power outages.

Meanwhile on Thursday morning, commuters particularly in rush hour traffic in northern Germany will still be affected by the aftermath of the storm.

According to DB, four track lines in the Hamburg, Kiel and Lubeck area have been suspended and delays on several other train routes could be expected.

The German Weather Service (DWD) also warned that storms in the southwest of Germany could continue on Thursday. In the morning, there could be continuous rainfall with potential flooding in southern Hesse, parts of Baden-Württemberg, Rhineland-Palatinate and Saarland.

In Hamburg as well as in towns along the North Sea, winds of up to 85 kilometres per hour could pass through as well, though diminishing by the evening.

On Friday, thunderstorms and showers may be seen in northwestern Germany. According to DWD, wind speeds are expected to be moderate and will weaken into the weekend.


What temperatures can we expect in Germany this week?

Parts of Germany will see another heatwave this week as temperatures soar.

What temperatures can we expect in Germany this week?

The German Weather Service (DWD) has predicted that the mercury will climb in some regions of to around 34C this week. 

“After low pressure ‘Karin’ gave parts of Germany rain, sometimes in large quantities, high pressure ‘Piet’ is now back in pole position,” said meteorologist Lars Kirchhübel of the DWD.

This high pressure zone will dominate the weather in large parts of western and central Europe over the coming days, the weather expert said, adding that it will reach Germany too. 

On Monday temperatures remained fairly cool across the country after a weekend of showers, but they are set to climb over the course of the week, particularly on Wednesday and Thursday. Forecasters predict it could reach 32C in Stuttgart and 33C in Cologne on Thursday. Locally, temperatures could reach 34C. 

However, from the Oder and Neisse rivers to the Erzgebirge mountains and southeast Bavaria, denser clouds and some showers are to be expected. This is due to a high-level low pressure system over the Balkan region, according to forecasters. Short showers are also possible in the Black Forest.

“In most of the rest of the country, high ‘Piet’ will be able to hold its ground,” said Kirchhübel.

READ ALSO: Heavy rain in Bavaria swells rivers, but flooding avoided

At the end of the week, thunderstorms are forecast but temperatures are expected to remain high. 

August in Germany ‘too dry’

According to the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts, August as a whole – apart from a few areas in eastern Germany – will be too dry compared to the multi-year average.

The Black Forest, the High Rhine and the Allgäu to the Bavarian Forest, however, are not expected to have any major problems due to the high rainfall of the past few days.

“Looking at Rhineland-Palatinate, the southern half of Hesse, the western half of North Rhine-Westphalia and Lower Franconia shows a different picture,” said Kirchhübel. In the last 30 days, only about 10 percent of the usual level of precipitation fell in some places.

“At some stations, no precipitation at all has been measured in August,” added Kirchhübel, referencing Würzburg as an example.

Rainfall at the weekend caused the water in the Rhine river to rise slightly. In Emmerich, the water level reached a positive value again after the historic low of the past few days: in the morning, it showed three centimetres – an increase of six centimetres compared to the previous day.

The water level also rose by several centimetres at the other measuring points in North Rhine-Westphalia: in Cologne, the level rose to 80cm and in Düsseldorf to 38cm.

READ ALSO: Damaged freighter blocks traffic at drought-hit Rhine

Despite this encouraging trend, the Waterways and Shipping Authority said it did not expect a huge improvement in water levels in the foreseeable future due to more hot weather coming.