50 houses damaged after tornado hits Saarland town
Residents of Marpingen in Saarland recall panic after a 70-meter high tornado tore through their town on Thursday afternoon.
Starting with thunderstorms at around 14:30 on Thursday, Marpingen, a Saarland town with about 3,000 residents, was left devasted by a strong tornado.
Witnesses say the worst of the storm only lasted for about ten seconds, but the high winds snapped trees, which fell onto roofs, sending some residents outside in panic. The winds were strong enough to send bricks flying through the air, shattering car windows.
An eyewitness told the Saarbrücker Zeitung that he had initially just heard a rumble of thunder, "as if someone had dumped a trailer full of stones".
More than 50 homes were damaged by the impact of the tornado. Some had parts of their roof stripped off, while on others the roofs were almost completely destroyed.
The most severe damage was limited to a few streets and no injuries were reported.
Clean-up efforts are continuing. Some residents are still not being allowed into their homes, as there may still be unidentified structural damage.
How common are tornadoes in Germany?
According to weather experts, tornadoes occur in Germany much more often that people may assume.
In an average year, the country will experience between 20 to 60 tornadoes, though the storms don't tend to be especially severe.
On May 20th, 2022, a major tornado swept through western Germany, injuring at least 40 people and causing millions of euros of damage in the town of Paderborn. At least one person died after being electrocuted in his basement.
Some studies suggest that climate change could cause more severe storms to develop in Europe, though experts debate whether this will necessarily lead to more regular tornadoes.
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