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WEATHER

IN PICTURES: Devastating storm rips through southern and western Germany

The violent storm, which tore part of the cladding off the roof of Stuttgart's opera house on Monday evening, is expected to move through the northern and eastern regions of Germany on Tuesday.

IN PICTURES: Devastating storm rips through southern and western Germany
Cladding from the roof of Stuttgart State Opera lies on the ground on Tuesday, June 29th. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Christoph Schmidt

Violent thunderstorms with sharp gusts and heavy rain hit people in the southern and western regions of Germany on Monday night. 

In Stuttgart, the fire brigade received more than 330 calls between Monday evening and Tuesday morning, partly due to the intense downpour that caused several of the city’s tunnels to flood. 


Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Christoph Schmidt

Parts of the cladding flew off the roof at the city’s State Opera, where 250 guests were attending a recital on Monday night. According to DPA, statues also fell from their pedestals – but nobody at the recital was injured.

“I’m under the roof and getting pretty wet,” director Viktor Schoner told the DPA on Monday evening. The side stage was under water, while some of the rain poured into the building through the lamps. 

A large section of copper planking landed in the opera house gardens, managing director Oliver Hendriks told AFP. Staff were  still assessing the potential damage caused by several thousand litres of rainwater entering the house, he said. 


Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Marijan Murat

In the district of Calw, fire brigade and police forces were occupied throughout the night with the fall-out from the thunderstorm. A spokesman for the Pforzheim police told the DPA that they had dealt with flooded streets, overflowing gullies and landslides in the Altensteig region.


Photo: picture alliance/dpa/Einsatz-Report24 | Aaron Klewer

Some severe storms also hit Rhineland-Palatinate and parts of Hesse.


Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Sebastian Gollnow

The fire brigade announced on Tuesday morning that there had been 265 calls in the Vorderpfalz area due to the heavy rains. In the city of Ludwigshafen, water was pumped from basements and apartments, and fallen trees were removed.


Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Christoph Schmidt

Heavy rain also caused a lot of work for the emergency services in Koblenz. The fire brigade and police were on duty due to full cellars, flooded streets and several accidents. In Bad Dürkheim, the emergency services were called throughout the night to deal with muddy streets and flooded cellars.


Photo: picture alliance/dpa/SDMG | Sven Kohls

On two motorways in Rhineland-Palatinate there were accidents with injuries during heavy rains. On the A3 and the A48 there were a total of seven accidents in the late afternoon in the area of ​​the Montabaur motorway police, police announced. 


Photo: picture alliance/dpa/vmd-images | Alexander Hald

In Bavaria, too, the storm raged late on Tuesday evening until late into the night. Within a very short time there were 101 fire brigade and 25 rescue service operations, the city of Würzburg announced.

The forces removed fallen trees, secured flying parts, pumped out basements that had been filled with water and secured flooded roads.

READ ALSO: IN PICTURES – Storms and floods strike across western Germany

The fire brigade also faced a busy night in the west. In Bocholt in North Rhine-Westphalia the emergency services were called more than 100 times during the night.

Numerous cellars had to be pumped out and trees had to be cleared from streets.


Photo: picture alliance/dpa/vmd-images | Alexander Hald

A spokeswoman for the German Weather Service (DWD) said on Tuesday morning that there was no end to the storm in sight. Although the current storm that formed over Baden-Württemberg and Bavaria has now partially moved to the Czech Republic, the weather situation remains complex.

For Tuesday afternoon, the DWD expects “new, sometimes strong, thunderstorms with a local risk of severe weather, especially from heavy rain” in the north and later in the east.

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WILDFIRES

Europe facing record year for wildfire destruction: EU

Europe's blistering summer may not be over yet, but 2022 is already breaking records, with nearly 660,000 hectares ravaged since January, according to the EU's satellite monitoring service.

Europe facing record year for wildfire destruction: EU

And while countries on the Mediterranean have normally been the main seats of fires in Europe, this year, other countries are also suffering heavily.

Fires this year have forced people to flee their homes, destroyed buildings and burned forests in EU countries, including Austria, Croatia, France, Greece, Italy, Portugal and Spain.

Some 659,541 hectares (1.6 million acres) have been destroyed so far, data from the European Forest Fire Information System (EFFIS) showed, setting a record at this point in the year since data collection began in 2006.

Europe has suffered a series of heatwaves, forest fires and historic drought that experts say are being driven by human-induced climate change.

They warn more frequent and longer heatwaves are on the way.

The worst-affected country has been Spain, where fire has destroyed 244,924 hectares, according to EFFIS data.

The EFFIS uses satellite data from the EU’s Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service (CAMS).

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

The data comes after CAMS said Friday that 2022 was a record year for wildfire activity in southwestern Europe and warned that a large proportion of western Europe was now in “extreme fire danger”.

“2022 is already a record year, just below 2017,” EFFIS coordinator Jesus San-Miguel said. In 2017, 420,913 hectares had burned by August 13, rising to 988,087 hectares by the end of the year.

“The situation in terms of drought and extremely high temperatures has affected all of Europe this year and the overall situation in the region is worrying, while we are still in the middle of the fire season,” he said.

Since 2010, there had been a trend towards more fires in central and northern Europe, with fires in countries that “normally do not experience fires in their territory”, he added.

“The overall fire season in the EU is really driven mainly by countries in the Mediterranean region, except in years like this one, in which fires also happen in central and northern regions,” he added.

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