UPDATE: Storms across Germany spark travel chaos and power cuts

Strong rain and gales in Hanover, Lower Saxony.
Strong rain and gales in Hanover, Lower Saxony. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Julian Stratenschulte
Extreme winds and rain wreaked havoc across Germany on Thursday, causing major travel disruption and power cuts.

Train passengers faced severe disruption in many parts of the country due to the high winds and stormy weather. In Thuringia, Saxony and Saxony-Anhalt, regional rail services were suspended until further notice on Thursday afternoon, according to Deutsche Bahn (DB). 

There were also lots of train cancellations and delays in Saarland, Hesse, Rhineland-Palatinate, Baden-Württemberg and Bavaria.

“Hundreds of employees are on duty to clear trees and other obstacles from the tracks, repair overhead lines and record damage,” a DB spokeswoman said.

Meanwhile, fallen trees and branches also resulted in power cuts in parts of Brandenburg, Saxony, Saxony-Anhalt and Thuringia, according to a spokesperson for Mitteldeutsche Netzgesellschaft Strom. Around 50,000 customers were affected.

A fallen tree in Berlin.
A fallen tree in Berlin. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Wolfram Steinberg

Passengers can change tickets

Passengers who want to postpone their journey due to the storms are able to redeem their booked ticket from now up to and including seven days after the end of the disruption. People can check the DB site for current issues in their area.

In North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW), long-distance trains were temporarily suspended in the morning. 

By early afternoon, long-distance trains were getting back on track through NRW. But on the Düsseldorf-Cologne line, the clean-up work was still ongoing, and the ICE line to Wuppertal was still out of service, a spokesman said. 

The German Weather Service (DWD) on Thursday morning issued an orange (level 2) storm warning for most of Germany – and a more serious red (level 3) warning in some areas in a central strip across the country. 

READ ALSO: Germany braces for severe storm and high winds

The low pressure system moved over Germany, bringing with it strong gusts, thunderstorms and rain.

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Motorists hit by storm

The storm has been causing major damage elsewhere.

A fallen tree seriously injured a 59-year-old motorist in the Harz Mountains. The tree hit the man’s car in the morning near a village in Saxony-Anhalt, a police spokesperson said.

A 22-year-old woman was also involved in an accident on the Autobahn near Wietmarschen in Lower Saxony.

Throughout the Harz Mountains, numerous trees toppled over and blocked some roads. The State Forests and the Harz National Park warned people not to enter these areas. 

The DWD tweet below shows some of the strongest gusts. 

“Going into the forest now is absolutely irresponsible. Even if the storm has subsided, trees can still fall at any time,” warned Friedhart Knolle of the Harz National Park. 

Meanwhile, a goods train collided with a fallen branch in the Bonn district of Bad Godesberg on Thursday night

The Tweet below by the German Weather Service shows wind speeds recorded in parts of Germany on Thursday morning. On Mountains the maximum wind speed reached 166 km/h. 

In the state of Hesse, police and emergency services received several reports of fallen trees – and even a trampoline that was lifted and hurled across streets. There was some minor damage to property.

In Rhineland-Palatinate, there were several traffic accidents due to branches, trees or bins blown onto the roads. The Rhine bridge near Speyer, which is part of Autobahn 61, was closed due to a truck overturning. The police believe gusts of wind caught the trailer of the lorry and caused it to overturn.

An overturned truck on Autobahn 61.
An overturned truck on Autobahn 61. Photo: picture alliance/dpa/Pr-Video | Rene Priebe

In Thuringia and Baden-Württemberg, trees were uprooted. In Delmenhorst, Lower Saxony, a man was hit by a falling branch on Wednesday evening but luckily he was not injured seriously, police said.

In the northern half of Germany, the weather service warned of eastward-moving storms with gale-force winds of up to 105 kilometres per hour. Forecasters said it would also be particularly stormy on the Baltic Sea coast. 

The DWD warned of falling branches and roof tiles, and recommended that people try and stay indoors, particularly in badly-affected areas.

Forecasters say the wind will decrease from the west over the course of the afternoon. It is set to get cooler overall. Temperatures on Thursday will be between 15 and 18C, in the west and north between 12 and 15C.

Vocabulary

Storm – (der) Sturm 

Thunderstorm or storm – (das) Gewitter

Gale-force winds – (die) Orkanböen

Diverted – umgeleitet

We’re aiming to help our readers improve their German by translating vocabulary from some of our news stories. Did you find this article useful? Let us know.


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