Commuters face major disruption as storms lash Germany
Commuters in parts of Germany faced disruption Monday after storms lashed the country.
Thunderstorms, heavy rain and hailstones caused flooding and trees to fall, affecting rail and air travel in central, eastern and southern regions of the country.
The rail network in the state of Hesse was particularly badly hit due to the weather conditions, a Deutsche Bahn (DB) spokesman said.
In Walldorf - south west of Frankfurt - lightning struck a signal box, DB reported on Twitter. Trains between the main stations of Mannheim and Frankfurt had to be cancelled due to a line closure. DB said the closure would be in place until around 3pm on Monday.
Update #Unwetter— Deutsche Bahn Verkehrsmeldungen (@DB_Info) August 19, 2019
Streckensperrung #Frankfurt - #Mannheim bis vsl. 15:00 Uhr
Zur Entlastung der Umleitungsstrecken entfallen #ICE1573, #ICE1574, #ICE1576 und #ICE1577 zwischen Frankfurt(Main) und Heidelberg. https://t.co/59FiU3kznS
On the routes between Darmstadt and Frankfurt and between Hanau, east of Frankfurt, and Aschaffenburg, in Bavaria, passengers faced disruption because of overhead line problems.
Lightning in Dresden. Photo: DPA
Trees had fallen on the tracks in several places, hindering regional traffic in particular.
The ICE 930, which had to stop at Aschaffenburg due to damage to overhead lines and trees on the track, was no longer able to continue. A spokesman for DB said passengers had been provided with taxi vouchers.
The spokesman said that delays cancellations could occur in the affected areas. Long-distance traffic was to be diverted, and some trains had to be held back in stations while the clean-up got underway.
Airport cancellations and storm damage
The thunderstorms also caused problems at Frankfurt Airport. In order to protect staff and travellers, handling on the runway was temporarily suspended, a spokeswoman for the airport said. The number of aircraft landings was also reduced. Initially, 26 flights had been cancelled by Sunday evening - mostly domestic flights. Five flights were diverted.
According to the police, the region around Mörfelden in southern Hesse was particularly badly affected by storms. The roof of the town hall was damaged, while cars were hit by falling trees.
The storm also caused damage in Mainz, particularly the Ebersheim district. Two people became trapped under a fallen tree but were not injured severely.
Flooding in Langen, Hesse. Photo: DPA
In Bavaria, hail and storms struck the district of Aschaffenburg. Roofs were damaged and cellars flooded, according to the fire brigade.
Several communities were still without electricity late at night, while more than 500 rescue workers were deployed.
The Autobahn 45 was completely closed in the direction of Seligenstadt. There were no trains on the railway line between Kleinostheim and the state border between Hesse and Bavaria.
A DWD (German Weather Service) spokeswoman said that thunderstorms and heavy rain are also expected to hit the south and southeast on Monday.
There could also be occasional thunderstorms and rain in coastal areas of Germany.
On Wednesday the weather situation improves across Germany, and temperatures are expected to rise.