Germany’s first ‘autumn storm’ of 2020 causes chaos around country

Germany's first 'autumn storm' of 2020 causes chaos around country
Heaters at a restaurant in Düsseldorf are knocked over in the windy weather. Photo: DPA
Following a sizzling heatwave just a week before, the chilly storm front "Kirsten" caused injuries and traffic delays around Germany on Wednesday.

Some roads and railroad lines had to be closed, and a number of people were injured by falling branches and trees. 

Since the trees are currently still full of leaves, they offer the wind a large area of attack, the German Weather Service (DWD) said about the “first autumn storm of the year”. Gusts of wind as high as 89 kilometres per hour were reported, especially in mountainous regions. 

READ ALSO: 10 essential phrases to complain about the weather like a German

Yet the storm had largely faded by the late afternoon: In Berlin temperatures hovered around 18C as light rain continued to fall, 20C in Cologne, 23C in Frankfurt and 27C in sunny Munich

The weather followed a heatwave earlier in the month, in which parts of Germany saw temperatures as high as 38C.

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Train delays and car accidents

There was serious damage and disruption to the train network, roads and communities.

In North Rhine-Westphalia, fallen trees caused railroad line closures near Cologne, Ennepetal and Dortmund in the morning. 

Fallen trees in Mülheim, North Rhine-Westphalia. Photo: DPA

Near Dortmund-Aplerbeck, around 100 passengers had to leave a regional express train because it could not continue its journey with a fallen tree lying on the track.

In Bavaria, Deutsche Bahn also closed a line between Fürth and Zirndorf in Middle Franconia for about an hour in the morning because a fallen tree blocked the tracks. Between Roth and Schwabach, regional trains stopped running around noon.

In Hünxe in the Lower Rhine region of North Rhine-Westphalia, a car driver suffered minor injuries when a tree fell on her hood. In Kleve, according to the police, a motorcyclist was injured by a falling branch. On Autobahn 44, a truck overturned on the freeway, and the route towards Aachen was closed.

Due to the increased danger of falling trees, the zoo in Wuppertal and parks in Cologne and Düsseldorf, among others, remained closed for safety reasons. In Erfurt, the city closed the main cemetery and the local cemeteries as a precaution. 

One tree had already fallen in one of the cemeteries, the city's garden and cemetery office said in the morning. Open spaces and the Tiergarten were also closed in Hanover.

A woman's hair blows in the strong wind in Frankfurt on Wednesday. Photo: DPA

Smooth sailing

Yet northern Germany was not hit as hard as expected, with few fallen trees. Despite the wind, large ferries on the North Sea coast initially set sail without restrictions to the East Frisian Islands. 

“We are sailing according to plan. We can get close to a [highest level] storm force ten, but that's nothing we are not used to,” said Fred Meyer, spokesman for the shipping company Norden-Frisia, which offers trips to Norderney and Juist. 

On Thursday the weather in Germany should calm down after the first autumnal storms. Temperatures between 17 and 21C are expected in the northern half of Germany, with occasional showers. 

Towards the south it will remain dry and mostly pleasant and sunny, with temperatures of up to 25C. 

On Friday the weather front “Lynn” will bring changeable weather to Germany, but with much less wind.


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