Strong thunderstorms are threatening parts of Germany tomorrow, Friday. According to the German Weather Service (DWD), there is a high probability of an “extreme storm” with thunderstorms, hail and storms in the west and south at night.

According to a DWD meteorologist, the highest warning level (level 4) should be declared in many places. “This threatens massive damage where the thunderstorm complex stretches,” said the weather researcher in Offenbach on Thursday.

According to the definition, an official warning of level 4 can be life-threatening for people. “Avoid spending time outdoors. Be very careful and inform yourself regularly about the development of the weather situation,” advised the DWD. In addition, one should prepare for “extraordinary measures” and in any case follow possible instructions from the authorities.

So-called supercells are likely to form as a result – rotating systems with strong updrafts that move completely independently and are therefore difficult to predict. There are also “ideal conditions” for tornadoes.

According to the DWD, the storm on Friday primarily affected an imaginary strip from North Rhine-Westphalia and northern Rhineland-Palatinate to Brandenburg and Western Pomerania. According to the information, however, it can only be said with certainty where exactly the thunderstorms will discharge a few hours in advance, and for tornadoes the forecast range is even in the minute range.

“Due to the fact that the trajectory of the small-scale thunderstorm low can still not be predicted exactly, a certain degree of uncertainty remains,” said the meteorologist. Only in the very north and south of the country is there a lower tendency for thunderstorms.

The DWD issued level 3 warnings for western Germany on Thursday. The thunderstorm front reached North Rhine-Westphalia in the afternoon via the southwest near Aachen and then moved across the Rhineland, the Münsterland and the Ruhr area. In many places the sky suddenly darkened. There was local heavy rain, thunder and lightning. Later, the thunderstorm front moved further across South Westphalia in the direction of East Westphalia-Lippe.

A man was seriously injured in a lightning strike on a cargo ship in Duisburg. For security reasons, Düsseldorf Airport stopped operating for around 30 minutes in the afternoon. Half a dozen fallen trees were reported on the Lower Rhine and in Münsterland, and railway lines were blocked. A tree fell on the north-south main line between Düsseldorf and Leverkusen.

In Cologne, heavy rain, hurricanes and hail caused the fire brigade to call out dozens of times: there were flooded basements, loose roof tiles and scaffolding, broken branches and fallen trees on streets and railway tracks.

The weather service called for windows and doors to be closed and outdoor objects to be secured. “In particular, keep your distance from buildings, trees, scaffolding and high-voltage power lines,” he said. Cellars and streets may be flooded.

As reported by Deutsche Bahn, rail traffic to Germany in the neighboring Netherlands had to be temporarily suspended due to the thunderstorm. The route from Cologne to Amsterdam was particularly affected. There were delays and cancellations.

The trains are currently being diverted via Venlo, it said on Twitter. It was not yet clear how long the disruption would last. There are delays and cancellations. Train travelers were asked to check the travel connection on the online portals or the train app.

The Düsseldorf wildlife park and the Dortmund zoo were already closed in the afternoon. All schools sponsored by the Ahrweiler district were closed on Friday. As the local district administration announced on Thursday evening, there are no classes there. The district strongly recommends that the sponsors of the other schools keep them closed as well.

The reason for the thunderstorms is a warm and increasingly very humid air mass coming from the west. During the day it gets muggy to hot, with temperatures of up to 27 and 32 degrees. In the southeast and east of Germany, on the other hand, it will be sunny and dry on Thursday.

According to the meteorologists, the thunderstorms will continue to spread on Friday night. In the west and southwest, renewed showers and thunderstorms are expected in some areas, in the north with individual, sometimes strong thunderstorms.

Severe storms are also expected in the Berlin and Brandenburg region on Friday. A thunderstorm will move from the west across the northern center from the afternoon, the German Weather Service announced on Thursday evening.

Widespread severe, sometimes extreme thunderstorms with massive effects are expected. Heavy rain with 40 liters per square meter in one hour is possible. Hailstones could be around 5 centimeters in size. Heavy storm or hurricane gusts are expected.

In some cases, extremely heavy rain with around 60 liters in a few hours is likely, it said. “Even individual tornadoes are not excluded.” There is a risk of small-scale flooding, branches and trees could break. According to the forecast, the weather should calm down on Saturday night.

Only in the north and north-east and in the south of Germany is there a low chance of thunderstorms. There will be a few showers in the south on Saturday night.