Thunder and Lightning: Massive Storms Halt Trains in Germany

Photo Gallery: Thunder and Lightning Halt Train Traffic Photos
DPA

Powerful thunderstorms struck across Germany on Tuesday evening, resulting in the suspension of rail traffic on many of the country's main arterials. Additional chaos is expected, with more heavy weather on the way.

The last few weeks in Germany have been hotter than usual. So it should perhaps come as little surprise that the thunderstorms in recent days have also been more violent than normal.

Following the heavy thunderstorms on Sunday, which severely impeded train traffic throughout much of southern Germany, Tuesday night followed with a show of its own. Huge storms with strong wind pummelled the southern and eastern part of the country as lightning strikes uprooted trees and put a halt to train traffic on several rail arterials.

Train travel proved particularly challenging in the Frankfurt region; all long-distance lines to and from the city were closed on Tuesday evening as was part of the high-speed link between Munich and Berlin. The train station at the Frankfurt airport was likewise closed due to damage inflicted to the building as a result of the storm.

The rail line between Berlin and Hamburg was likewise closed for hours after strong winds toppled several large trees onto the tracks. Tens of thousands of travellers were stranded as a result of the closures, though the Berlin-Hamburg line was reopened in the late evening, according to Deutsche Bahn. Elsewhere, however, the tracks remained blocked for much longer.

More Storms Coming

Despite the high winds and heavy rains, the Frankfurt airport was closed only briefly, for a period of 30 minutes. "That is routine for such strong storms with lightning and high winds," said an airport spokesman, according to German news agency DPA. Severe delays were largely avoided.

When it came to more serious damage, however, Bavaria took the brunt of it. A lightning strike on a farm in the town of Feldkirchen, just outside of Munich, triggered a large fire which killed 250 pigs. In Regensburg, a lightning bolt hit a house and elsewhere in the state, several cars were damaged by falling trees and branches. There were also several minor injuries in Bavaria and elsewhere in Germany as a result of falling branches.

Berlin too saw its fair share of storm related chaos on Tuesday night. The fire department was sent out 180 times between 10 p.m. and midnight, a spokesperson told DPA. "It was a mixture of things. Flooded cellars had to be pumped, fallen trees removed and streets freed of water."

More storms are coming. The forecast for Wednesday calls for additional strong thunderstorms for much of the country.

cgh -- with wire services

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1. Crises Management
zkkhan 08/08/2013
Being the victim of this catastrophe for good about 4 hours at Frankfurt railway station I had always wondered why Germany, in spite of the most advanced country in the world miserably fails in crises management. Be it a natural catastrophe or a serious accident on Motorways, in all such circumstance public gets the least priority and those on helm of affairs resort to books of rules and regulations. Even in this particular case providing of information was extremely poor. I kept on sitting in Inter City for 4 hours and only two times that too after the interval of 2 hours announcement came that no one knows when the railway track will be free. Those involved in operation could have assessed how much time it will take and this could have been told to all at the initial stage. But it did no happen thus wasting the time of hundreds of people waiting in hopeless condition. Further the attitude of DB staff was also very sarcastic. In such situation they could have issued vouchers to regular pre paid passengers to use other mode of transport like taxi etc. But each employee of DB was in such a panic as heaven has fallen on Frankfurt Main Railway Station. Natural calamities can hit any time and efficient nations always keep options readily available to meet such challenges. However here in Germany either no such options are available or if available seems not to be working. Be warned in case some times computer system gets failed probably whole Germany will land in unthinkable chaos.
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