At least one dead, dozens injured and millions in damage – that is the preliminary result of the hurricane “Emmelinde”, which swept over Germany with at least three tornadoes. North Rhine-Westphalia was particularly hard hit on Friday. According to the police, 43 people were injured in Paderborn in East Westphalia, ten of them seriously.

In the Rhineland-Palatinate town of Wittgert, a 38-year-old man died when he suffered an electric shock when entering a flooded basement, which caused him to fall and probably hit his head, the police said.

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According to the German Weather Service (DWD), tornadoes occurred in Paderborn, Lippstadt and Lütmarsen, a district of the city of Höxter, in the most populous state of North Rhine-Westphalia. The three confirmed tornadoes formed in connection with particularly strong thunderstorms, explained a DWD spokesman.

In Paderborn, the police spoke of a “swath of devastation”. The main police building in Paderborn was also badly damaged. Mayor Michael Dreier (CDU) said on Saturday: “Countless roofs have been completely designed with the pans. Many panes have been smashed by the wind.”

In the heart of the city, where the new central bus station is being built, traffic lights are broken like matches. According to the authorities, the tornado caused extensive destruction in a corridor that was about 300 meters wide and ran more than five kilometers through the middle of the city.

The police director of Paderborn, Ulrich Ettler, praised the helpfulness of many citizens, but also complained about the curiosity of some people: “Unfortunately, there were also some citizens who were so bold as to disregard barrier tapes and hinder the work of the rescue services.”

In view of the wind that was picking up again and again and many dangerous areas that were still unsecured, the police called on people to stay at home. “Increased dangers from strong winds” can also be expected for Saturday.

In Lippstadt, 35 kilometers from Paderborn, a tornado caused massive damage on Friday around 5 p.m. The entire city area was affected, said a fire department spokesman. Numerous roofs were covered and trees fell on cars. At times, around 120 bathers were trapped in the Cabrioli leisure pool because fallen trees blocked the entrance. The trapped people were later freed, the fire brigade reported.

When the tornado swept through the historic center of the more than 800-year-old Westphalian city, a sporting event should normally have taken place at this very spot, a Tagesspiegel reporter learned on site – at this time the children’s run and school run were on, in the evening there were more than a thousand Athletes should take part in the old town run for adults. But the city had canceled the event on Friday morning.

The tornado cut a path about 400 to 500 meters wide as it swept across the city from west to east. To the north and south of it there was no apparent damage. According to information from the police authorities in the Soest district, there were probably no injuries in the severe storm. In the city center, however, areas initially remained cordoned off for safety reasons.

NRW Interior Minister Herbert Reul (CDU) thanked thousands of emergency services for their work. “I am saddened by the extent of the destruction left behind by the tornadoes in Lippstadt and Paderborn.”

In Central Franconia in Bavaria, 14 people, including several children, were injured when a wooden hut collapsed during the storm there. The accident happened on Friday evening in Spalt (Roth district) near the Großer Brombachsee.

According to a police spokeswoman, in view of the storm approaching in Bavaria, several vacationers sought shelter in the approximately 85 square meter hut, which then tipped to the side and collapsed.

All in all, the storm in Middle Franconia triggered almost 400 fire brigade operations – mainly because of flooded basements, uprooted trees and damaged house roofs. Between Neuhaus and Hersbruck the railway line was closed because of trees on the tracks.

In Rhineland-Palatinate and Saarland, there was no major damage despite massive thunderstorms. Police and rescue workers reported only a few fallen trees, hail damage to cars and flooding of basements. In the Rhineland-Palatinate district of Bernkastel-Wittlich, five people were injured in a car accident on a rain-soaked country road, including a three-year-old child.

In Thuringia, late on Friday evening, a driver near Dittersdorf in the Saale-Orla district got off the road with his vehicle due to aquaplaning and crashed into a concrete wall, the police said. He and three passengers suffered minor injuries. Elsewhere in Thuringia, too, the emergency services had to move out – mainly because of uprooted trees blocking the roads.

In Saxony, the band Rammstein had to interrupt their concert on Friday evening for half an hour due to a thunderstorm over Leipzig. 45 minutes after the start of the show, people in the Red Bull Arena were asked to leave the stadium and seek shelter. After 15 minutes, the fans were then allowed back into the interior.

Even before the storm began, there were disruptions in many places in Germany at the start of the weekend. Individual events have been cancelled, including a curiosity in Solingen: a Christmas market there that was canceled due to the corona virus is only to be rescheduled from Saturday and thus one day later than planned. Obstacles were also expected for travel: Deutsche Bahn prepared its customers for delays and train cancellations.

According to the German Weather Service (DWD), the thunderstorm should move eastwards over Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania on Saturday. A few thunderstorms are still to be expected in the south.