People in many regions of Germany have to be prepared for severe storms. The German Weather Service (DWD) issued official severe weather warnings for the south-western area of North Rhine-Westphalia early on Friday afternoon. There could be severe thunderstorms with heavy rain and hail in the afternoon, a spokesman said. People would also have to reckon with gusts of wind with speeds of up to 100 kilometers per hour.
Overall, the storms can include extremely heavy local rain of around 40 liters per square meter in a short time, large hail of up to five centimeters and heavy gusts of wind up to hurricane gusts with speeds between 100 and 130 kilometers per hour. Isolated tornadoes cannot be ruled out,” predicted the DWD in Offenbach in the morning.
NRW Interior Minister Herbert Reul (CDU) called on the population of the federal state to be particularly careful in view of the storm warnings. “Please stay at home. Avoid spending time outdoors. In particular, keep your distance from buildings, trees, scaffolding and high-voltage lines! Don’t go into the basement or lower floors,” Reul told the German Press Agency on Friday. He appealed: “Take the warnings of the German Weather Service very seriously.”
On Friday afternoon the thunderstorms will move eastwards, in the evening there may also be some strong thunderstorms in the south of the country with the potential for severe weather, mainly due to heavy rain and hail. The highest temperatures on Friday are between 20 degrees on the sea, muggy 27 degrees in the middle and hot 34 degrees on the Upper Rhine.
In some places, classes are canceled – schools in the administrative district of Cologne should close earlier on Friday. Classes end at 11:30 a.m., said a spokesman for the district government. This ensures that the students get home safely. In Rhineland-Palatinate, all schools sponsored by the Ahrweiler district remained closed.
Deutsche Bahn has already prepared its customers for delays and train cancellations. Passengers who wanted to postpone their trip planned for Friday due to the storm could use long-distance tickets already booked flexibly up to and including seven days after the end of the disruption. Seat reservations could be exchanged free of charge, according to the Deutsche Bahn website.
And so it goes with the storm situation: In the night to Saturday, the thunderstorms are expected to move to the east, from the west the situation calms down. “Only along and south of the Danube, for a long time, sometimes heavy thunderstorms with heavy rain of around 25 liters per square meter per hour,” according to the forecast. It should then no longer be as warm as before – with maximum temperatures on the coast between 14 and 18 degrees, otherwise 20 to 25 degrees, on the Upper Rhine up to 27 degrees.
Heavy thunderstorms swept across western Germany on Thursday, but the damage was a little less severe than feared. In many places the sky suddenly darkened. There were local heavy rains, thunder and lightning. At times, rail traffic to the Netherlands was interrupted. In the late evening, the railways reported that international long-distance trains between Amsterdam, Cologne and Frankfurt were again on the move without restrictions. On the route between Cologne and Wuppertal, delays and cancellations on the train were expected for Friday. The long-distance lines were affected, the railway announced in the morning.
In Trier, a person suffered minor injuries when they drove their car over a fallen tree, police said. On Autobahn 1 near Illingen in Saarland, a driver was slightly injured in an accident – aquaplaning had occurred on the road.
Heavy rain also fell in the north. In Hamburg, a flooded underground car park had to be pumped out by the fire brigade. In Baden-Württemberg in the district of Ludwigsburg, too, the fire brigade had to pump out cellars and clear streets covered with mud. During the night, especially in Franconia, there were still isolated, sometimes heavy thunderstorms with heavy rain, small hail and gusty winds.
According to initial findings, a lightning strike was responsible for a roof truss fire in Zellingen near Würzburg. The family who lives in the house was able to leave the house in time during the strong thunderstorm on Thursday evening and was not injured, the police said on Friday. According to the police, the house was worth around 250,000 euros. The damage was initially not quantified. When the fire brigade arrived, flames were already shooting out of the roof of the house.
In view of the weather forecast, the State Office for Nature and the Environment in North Rhine-Westphalia activated the flood information service: the precipitation could affect the outflow in the water bodies in the state. A concrete forecast is not yet possible. In areas affected by heavy rain, local flooding could occur, and the water levels in the affected areas could rise significantly.