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Hundreds of police calls after heavy thunderstorms hit western Germany

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Hundreds of police calls after heavy thunderstorms hit western Germany
A car on a flooded street in Aachen. Photo: DPA
09:19 CEST+02:00
As a strong storm bringing along with it lightning and hail swept through the Lower Rhine and Eifel region early in the morning on Monday, hundreds of people alerted the emergency services.

The storm hit the Eifel mountain range in the west of the country as well as neighbouring regions in the states of North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW), Rhineland-Palatinate and Saarland. The city of Aachen in NRW was particularly hard hit.

Emergency services were called out to flooded streets, flooded cellars and roofs damaged by hail and wind, a police spokesman said.

During the storm, which lasted about 70 minutes, the Aachen police received 320 emergency calls. According to initial information from the authorities, there have been no reports of injuries.

In the NRW town of Stolberg near Aachen, the Europa Tunnel was closed because “it was completely full of water,” a spokesman said. Police expect the tunnel to open up again later in the day on Monday. Meanwhile mud made other roads in the town impassable.

A police spokesman in Trier said that due to trees falling on federal highway 418, the road was closed and would not open again at least until late on Monday morning.

Meanwhile in the municipality of Zemmer in Rhineland-Palatinate, the power went out because lightning destroyed a high-voltage line.

There were also local storms in and around Lower Saxony. In the towns of Haren and Aurich, fire brigades were called out to tend to fires which started due to lightning strikes.

Western Lower Saxony in particular saw heavy rain and hail; in the region wind gusts reached speeds of up to 75 kilometres per hour.

The storm had come from the south of France, Luxembourg and Belgium and had characteristics of a typical summer storm.

Hail and heavy rain are “what typically constitutes thunderstorms in summer," said a meteorologist from the German Weather Service (DWD).

The west and northwest of the country could still see more lightning and thunder before Monday afternoon, according to the DWD.

 

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