Deadly storms wreak havoc across Germany
Storms wreaked havoc across Germany, bringing with them a deluge of water, thunder and lightning – and even a tornado.
At least one person died during the extreme weather after a car skidded off an Autobahn in Bavaria.
The weather front, dubbed “Axel” in the German media, caused heavy rainfall in several states on Monday and in the early hours of Tuesday. It's expected to continue in some parts of Germany throughout Tuesday.
In Hesse and North Rhine-Westphalia up to 50 litres of rain fell in six hours, meteorologist Christina Speicher of the German Weather Service (DWD) told German daily Welt. It was still raining heavily there on Tuesday morning. The DWD said the torrential rainfall was "volatile and continuous".
In the foothills of the Alps, several weather stations reported four to nine litres of rainfall per hour.
There was also a deluge of rain further north. "In Saxony, Saxony-Anhalt and Lower Saxony, however, the continuous rain is slowly taking its leave," Speicher said.
Tief #Axel sorgt in weiten Teilen Deutschlands für heftige Regenfälle. Vor allem im Süden gelten bis zum Mittwochmorgen Unwetterwarnungen, mit Gefahr von #Hochwasser. Mehr zum Wetter: https://t.co/86jHi8BZ2N pic.twitter.com/mS3HhyC3aA— ZDF heute (@ZDFheute) May 21, 2019
As the graphic shows, weather warnings are still in place in parts of Germany on Tuesday.
On Monday, thunderstorms and heavy rain caused damage in many places in Germany and put emergency forces on alert.
Emergency vehicles on a flooded road in Plaue, Thuringia, eastern Germany. Photo: DPA
In Baden-Württemberg, the city of Wangen in the Allgäu region triggered a flood alarm. The river Obere Argen, which flows through the city, exceeded 2.30 meters at 1.30 am, a city spokesman said. The authorities put a flood emergency plan into effect, distributed sandbags and set up a residents' phone hotline.
In the Bavarian town of Aurach, a car driver skidded on Autobahn 6, came off the road and became trapped between two trees in a forest. The man sadly died at the scene of the accident. In Allgäu, a railway line was closed due to the heavy rainfall.
During the night water has built up heavily across the southern state, causing flooding. Traffic restrictions are to be expected Tuesday, authorities warned.
Guten Morgen #Nordhessen. Tief #Axel beschert uns zahlreiche Einsätze. Unfälle, Straßen überspült, #Hochwasser & Sperrungen. Feuerwehr, Straßenmeisterei u.a. im Dauereinsatz. Fahrt und geht bitte vorsichtig!— Polizei Nordhessen (@Polizei_NH) May 21, 2019
In Hesse, police warned that the weather was causing lots of accidents and urged drivers to be careful.
In Helmstedt (Lower Saxony), a hospital had to be evacuated due to water damage. Regional newspaper, the Mitteldeutsche Zeitung, reported that a ceiling in the Helios hospital had collapsed after rainwater accumulated on the roof due to a blocked pipe.
In addition to heavy rain and hailstones, a Facebook user captured a tornado on camera. The so-called 'funnel cloud' developed near the town of Brand-Erbisdorf in central Saxony. However, the extraordinary weather phenomenon left no damage behind.
In Saarland and Rhineland-Palatinate "Axel" led to stormy gusts and some flooding in residents’ homes. In Hesse, too, some cellars were submerged under water and some roads had to be closed.
The Autobahn 4 between Herleshausen (Hesse) and Gerstungen (Thuringia) had to be closed in one direction due to a flooded roadway. In Thuringia water seeped into homes as well as other buildings, including a youth club.
Torrential rain and thunder hits Berlin. Photo: DPA
Further north, lightning strikes were the main concern. In Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania lightning struck the island of Rügen in the Baltic Sea and a thatched roof in the community of Gnevkow. Both houses have been destroyed in the fire.
In Berlin, a short but extreme thunderstorm on Monday afternoon caused a state of emergency for the fire brigade, which was called out around 180 times due to the weather.
Rain moving south
Forecasters expect continuous rain and thunderstorms on Tuesday. "The rain will then gradually move on to southern Germany," said Speicher. In Saxony, Saxony-Anhalt, and Lower Saxony, the situation had already eased, in western Germany this would happen over the course of the day.
In Bavaria and Baden-Württemberg, severe weather warnings remain in place as heavy rain can be expected until Wednesday morning.