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