Shortly before 6 pm, dark clouds filled the sky in a region just west of Düsseldorf and suddenly tree branches were breaking off and homes were being unroofed.
Initial police reports state that the tornado had come and gone within ten to fifteen minutes; but in that short span of time a lot of property was damaged and two people were injured.
A 23-year-old man was seriously injured due to falling branches. Another person suffered minor injuries.
“Houses were so badly damaged that they are temporarily uninhabitable,” the NRW district of Viersen-Boisheim reported. 40 to 50 houses have been damaged in the district which is home to 2,000 inhabitants, according to the city of Viersen.
The tornado also hit the districts of Nettetal-Schaag, Schwalmtal-Dilkrath, Schwalmtal and Niederkrüchten, the local authorities reported via Facebook.
Numerous houses saw their roofs torn off, trees fell over and roads saw massive obstructions due to debris and branches which had fallen.
Damaged homes in Viersen. Photo: DPA
The motorway 61 near the Dutch border was also partially closed down. Police moreover reported that the rail route between Venlo and Mönchengladbach had to be shut down.
Meteorologist Jörg Kachelmann described Wednesday’s tornado in NRW as “very striking.”
At least six tornadoes have been observed in Germany so far this year, Kachelmann wrote on his website kachelmannwetter.com.