6-Year-Old Girl Killed: Tornadoes Wreak Havoc in Eastern Germany
Bad weather and tornadoes caused severe damage and disrupted travel in Saxony and Brandenburg on Monday. A six-year-old girl was killed when a tree fell on the car in which she was sitting.
Tornadoes in the south of the state of the eastern German state of Brandenburg and the north of the state of Saxony claimed one life and severely damaged buildings on Monday. In the town of Grossenhain, Saxony, a six-year-old girl was killed as a result of the storm. The child suffered severe injuries when a tree fell on the car in which she was sitting and she died several hours later in hospital.
Tornadoes caused extensive damage in Grossenhain and its surroundings. According to police, the storm left a row of houses without roofs, caused a hall to collapse and badly damaged an apartment building. On Tuesday a police spokesperson told the German news agency DDP that around 38 people were injured in the storms, which also caused power outages. Schools and kindergartens in the area were still closed Tuesday morning.
Almost Every House in Town Lost A Roof
In the town of Walda-Kleinthiemig, which has a population of around 650, almost 80 percent of houses lost their roofs and fallen trees caused damage and delay. The district authority there established a disaster management task force.
Police also report that a tornado that raced through the town of Mühlberg, Brandenburg, tore the roofs off around 20 houses and that further damage was caused by falling trees. Eyewitnesses reported that almost every house in the town suffered damage of some sort and in one area, around 300 meters wide, almost every tree was knocked over by the high winds. The Mühlberg church also suffered "substantial damage," a police spokesperson said. At one stage, 350 emergency services personnel were in action dealing with the consequences of the weather. Additionally the entire town was temporarily without power.
Train and Road Travel Affected
In Berlin the fire service had to be called 38 times between 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. on Monday, in regard to incidents related to the bad weather.
Travel in the region was also affected, with long-distance trains traveling between Dresden and Berlin having to be diverted. On the roads, fallen trees, branches and mud hindered vehicles traveling on the A13 and A4 motorways in Saxony. In the affected towns, roofing tiles which had blown off houses added to the traffic problems.
The bridge at Mühlberg, which links the states of Brandenburg and Saxony, had to be closed when the barriers on the side were severely damaged. It was open again by Monday evening. Emergency services could not reach the damaged bridge for some time due to blocked roads.
As yet, nobody has been able to assess the cost of the damage. "First we need to get an overview and establish who needs help most urgently," Diana Schulze, a spokesperson for the Grossenhain town administration, told DDP. "It has been deeply shocking."
Gerd Saalfrank, a Potsdam-based meteorologist for the German Weather Service (DWD), explained that the storms in Brandenburg were caused when two weather fronts met. An unstable layer of air coming in from the North Sea met warmer air from inland. In some areas between 30 and 40 liters of rain fell per square meter, he noted.
By Monday evening, the storm front had weakened and was moving away toward Poland and the Czech Republic, where emergency services have been dealing with floods that could also endanger parts of Germany. Other regions in eastern and northern Germany also saw bad weather over the weekend, although in southern Germany temperatures as high as 28 degrees Celsius (82 degrees Fahrenheit) were recorded.
cis - with wire reports
© SPIEGEL ONLINE 2010
All Rights Reserved
Reproduction only allowed with the permission of SPIEGELnet GmbH