Lightning, Floods, Debris: Thunderstorms Hammer Germany

Photo Gallery: Fire in the Night Sky Photos
Sebastian Krampe

The Old Testament-like weather that has surged through Germany over the past weeks showed no signs of abating Thursday night. Lightning, thunder, heavy rain and hail pelted much of the country, as emergency crews worked through the night to minimize the damage.

Just as Germans were recovering from massive flooding and a scorching heat wave that caused parts of the autobahn to explode, much of the country was pounded with lightening, thunder and heavy rain on Thursday night. Basements and streets were flooded, and several people were injured by falling trees and branches, some severely. Train traffic was interrupted due to damaged overhead power lines and blocked tracks. The storms calmed down later in the night.

In Berlin, an S-Bahn train derailed after ramming into a tree that had fallen across the track. In southern Hesse, a fallen tree seriously injured a motorist, while in Kollnburg, a town in Lower Bavaria, a man sustained a serious head injury when he was hit by a flying branch.

The south of Germany was hit particularly hard by the storms. Between 9 p.m. and 11 p.m., the fire department of the administrative district of Karlsruhe received 650 emergency calls, according to news agency DPA. Lightening struck several houses in Bavaria's Upper Palatinate. One man was electrocuted due to damaged wiring in his home. Another had been in his garden and was injured when lightening struck the house next door.

More Floods for Germany

There was some flooding throughout the country, though nothing as bad as what was seen in recent weeks along the Elbe and Danube rivers. In Bielefeld, a city in North-Rhine Westphalia, seven cars got stuck in a flooded underpass. One woman was rescued by boat from the roof of her car. Another woman in Dülmen died while trying to stop flooding in her basement on Thursday night.

Northern Germany was spared the worst of the storms, with Schleswig-Holstein, Hamburg and Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania reporting little damage. But Bremen and Lower Saxony were not quite so lucky, and visitors to the Hurricane Festival in Scheessel, near Bremen, struggled to pitch their tents under relentless rainstorms.

Germany should now see a respite from the extreme weather. On Friday, the official first day of summer, temperatures will cool throughout the day, according to the German Weather Service. Isolated thunderstorms are expected in the northwest and east of the country, but no severe weather warnings are currently in effect.

chw -- with wires

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