‘Short and violent’ tornado strikes town near Aachen

A tornado struck the town of Roetgen in the Eifel region of North Rhine-Westphalia on Wednesday evening, damaging 40 houses.

'Short and violent' tornado strikes town near Aachen
Roetgen's fire brigade observes the damage caused by the tornado. Photo: DPA

The swift but strong storm ripped through roofs and damaged homes in the town, situated near Aachen and on the border with Belgium.

SEE ALSO: Storms with gusts upwards of 100km/h strike Germany

Ten of the 40 houses can no longer be lived in for the time being, a fire brigade spokesperson told DPA, and two no longer have an upper floor.

Five people also suffered minor injuries, with four of them currently being treated at the hospital.

“It swept through, short and violent”, the fire brigade spokesman said, describing the natural phenomenon. The storm quickly died down. The damage by the tornado was concentrated on two roads. 

A Twitter user films the tornado as it sweeps through Roetgen.

However, trees had also fallen in the surrounding area, and cars were also damaged by flying parts.

The German Weather Service (DWD) confirmed that the severe storm in the community of about 8,500 inhabitants was a tornado.

“Such tornadoes are rare, but they can occur again and again – even in central Germany”, said a DWD spokeswoman on Thursday.

SEE ALSO: IN PICTURES: High winds, torrential rain and snow hit Germany

The tornado tore off or damaged rooftops in Roetgen. Photo: DPA

In the primary school in Roetgen on Wednesday evening a care centre was set up. The fire brigade estimated that about 30 people temporarily needed other accommodation.

The mayor reported, however, that many people stayed with acquaintances for the night. In addition, a Roetgen hotelier had offered his rooms free of charge for those affected. “The solidarity is once again great in our community”.

The cleaning and repair of the damaged houses will begin on Thursday. “The owners of the houses will examine the damage, maybe insurance will be taken out,” said Roetgen's mayor Jorma Klauss (SPD).

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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.