Stormy weather continues across Germany

Sabine has left its mark on Germany. But there's little relief as stormy weather is continuing.

Stormy weather continues across Germany
A commuter battles through the rain early on Tuesday morning in Stuttgart. Photo: DPA

Although it's not as extreme as the previous days, there's still a lot of wind and rain to contend with across the country on Tuesday.

In the southern part of Germany, police reported a large number of fallen trees through Monday night and in the early hours of Tuesday.

Emergency services were called out several times in the Freiburg and the upper Black Forest region. Many roads were closed.

READ ALSO: Major disruption as storm Sabine wreacks havoc across Germany

In southern Bavaria, too, trees lying on roads and power failures affected residents.

In the north it was slightly calmer although there was still some disruption.

In North Rhine-Westphalia, Hesse and Rhineland-Palatinate the storm, dubbed Sabine in Germany but known in other European countries as Ciara, caused trees to fall, and some smaller roads were still closed.

Overall, however, the situation has improved compared to Monday morning.

IN PICTURES: Winds up to 170km/h recorded as storms batter Germany

Deutsche Bahn (DB) announced it planned to resume intercity rail traffic on Tuesday morning without major restrictions – but some problems could not be avoided.

During the night, a DB spokesman said that there would be disruption to some regional traffic, especially in Bavaria and Baden-Württemberg. Trees also fell again on Hesse railway lines during the night so disruption is to be expected there.

The German Weather Service (DWD) expects the next few days to be stormy. On Tuesday, showers as well as strong gusts of wind are forecast. In the foothills of the Alps and in high altitudes, gale-force gusts are possible.

Meanwhile, the North Sea coast was preparing for storm surges and possible flooding.

Storm Sabine wreaks havoc

On Sunday and Monday, many people were injured in storm-related incidents – a total of 13 were injured in the most populous state of North Rhine-Westphalia alone, according to the state interior ministry.

Other states were also affected. Two women were badly hurt by a falling tree in Saarbrücken on the French border, with one of them receiving life-threatening injuries, police said.

Further north in Paderborn, a 16-year-old boy was hit on the head by a falling branch.

There was also major traffic disruption.

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Western Germany hit by second round of severe storms

Parts of Germany were once again pummelled by heavy thunderstorms on Monday - just days after the city of Paderborn was struck by a devastating tornado.

Western Germany hit by second round of severe storms

A severe weather warning was issued on Sunday by the German Weather Service (DWD), who cautioned residents in western and southwestern regions of the country that fierce gusts of wind, hailstones and heavy rain could once again be on the horizon.

A  second tornado could “not be ruled out” in the southwestern regions of the country, DWD warned. 

North Rhine-Westphalia, Hesse and Rhineland-Palatinate, were struck by heavy rain and hailstorms and strong gusts of wind throughout the afternoon.

However, the worst of the thunder and hailstorms warnings were for the state of Baden-Württemberg. 

Here, DWD issued a Stage 3 weather warning – the second highest possible. Severe thunderstorms with gale-force winds at speeds of up to 110km per hour were forecast, with up to 50 litres of rain per square metre falling in a short space of time.

According to the meteorologists, the storms are expected sweep across to the eastern regions of the country and ease off in the evening.

The storms and severe weather warnings came days after the city of Paderborn in North Rhine-Westphalia was hit by a devastating tornado.

According to the local fire brigade, 43 people were injured in the storm, with 13 of them needing to be hospitalised and one person reportedly fighting for their life. 

Railway services were cancelled across many parts of the west over the weekend, but resumed again on Monday.

Air travel in some parts of the country was also affected, with Frankfurt Airport in the central state of Hesse saying there was disruption to flights on Friday. 

Videos posted on social media depicted the strongest part of the tornado tearing through the city, ripping trees up by their roots.

The damage to infrastructure and buildings caused by the storm is estimated to be in the millions.

Schools remain closed

As of Monday, several schools and nurseries remained closed in both Paderborn and nearby Lippstadt due to fears that the buildings couldn’t be safely entered.

In the small town of Lippstadt alone, five nurseries and seven schools were closed for repairs on Monday, with administrators unable to say when they would reopen their doors.

“Given the extent of the damage we see at the various locations, it is currently unthinkable that classes can be held there in the next few days,” said Mayor Arne Moritz (CDU).

In Paderborn, meanwhile, drones were exploring five closed school buildings to check whether there was a risk of damaged roofs imploding. The streets where the schools are located have been closed off to the public and the police are believed to be patrolling outside to stop anyone entering.

READ ALSO: Tornado in western Germany injures dozens

Damaged roof in Paderborn

A damaged roof in the aftermath of the Paderborn storms. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Lino Mirgeler

More frequent tornadoes? 

Tornadoes aren’t infrequent in Central Europe, but recently appear to be gaining in frequency and intensity, which experts suggest could be a result of climate change. 

In June 2021, a deadly tornado swept through several villages in the Czech Republic near the Slovakian and Austrian borders, killing six people and injuring a further 200. 

At time, climatologists pointed out that until 2020, the Czech Republic only saw a handful of tornadoes each year – and most of them were relatively mild.

Speaking to WDR on Sunday, climate researcher Dr. Mojib Latif drew a direct parallel between warmer temperatures and more violent and regular storms.  

“In Germany there are approximately between 20 and 40 tornadoes per year,” he told the regional media outlet. “We have to reckon with that. As the climate gets warmer and thunderstorms become more violent, the frequency of tornadoes will also increase.”

However, some experts have been more cautious about drawing a direct link.

“That simply cannot be determined at the moment,” meteorologist Jürgen Schmidt told RND. 

Schmidt thinks the perception that tornadoes have increased in recent years could have a slightly more prosaic explanation.

The fact that people are able to record them on their smartphones and share these images more widely could contribute to this impression, he said. 

READ ALSO: EXPLAINED: How the climate crisis is hitting Europe hard