A tornado struck the city of Paderborn, North Rhine-Westphalia, on Friday, causing significant damage and injuring dozens of people. The weekend’s bad weather was felt across the country, with several cities reporting widespread damage and injuries. The extreme weather is set to continue this week. 

Bad weather batters western Germany

Cities and districts in Germany have been left reeling by the bad weather that battered the country over the weekend. The German Weather Service (DWD) had warned residents of a storm over the weekend, predicting gusts of up to 130 kilometres per hour in some places. According to the DWD, the storm generated three tornadoes that swept over parts of North Rhine-Westphalia and Rhineland-Palatinate.

One tornado struck the western city of Paderborn on Friday and, according to German police, injured 43 people, 30 of whom had to be taken to hospital. Authorities estimate that the tornado caused several million euros in damage to the city, including roofs being ripped off homes, windows being blown out and several trees uprooted. The fire brigade in Paderborn warned people to keep off the roads: “Please do not drive to Paderborn on your own without prior agreement of help. If necessary, further units of the fire brigade will be alerted and called in.”

The fire department in the nearby town of Lippstadt reported that the town was also probably hit by a tornado. No injuries were reported but the local church steeple was blown away by the strong winds. In both Lippstadt and Paderborn, schools and childcare centres have been closed. In the community of Wittgert, a 38-year-old man was killed when he entered his flooded basement and was electrocuted, causing him to fall and hit his head.

Storm reaches the eastern and southern parts of the country

The storm swept over the rest of the country as the weekend went on, seriously injuring dozens of people. In the eastern town of Ballenstedt, Saxony-Anhalt, two French citizens died after their motorised paraglider was caught by strong winds. “They appear to have been hit by a gust of wind that caused the paraglider to collapse, and the air vehicle crashed onto a field from a height of about 40 metres,” police said. 14 people in Bavaria were left injured after the wooden hut they were sheltering in at Lake Brombach collapsed during a storm.

The storm brought rail travel to a halt across the country. However, Deutsche Bahn has since resumed its long-distance train service, as well as other regional lines. “We had a normal start to operations,” said a company spokesperson on Monday. “There are no more storm-related special disruptions”.

Bad weather expected to continue this week

The German Weather Service expects the bad weather to continue from Monday afternoon, with heavy rain, strong winds and hail all on the cards. The likelihood of severe thunderstorms is particularly high in the west and south of North Rhine-Westphalia. In the south, the DWD has put out a low tornado risk. The bad weather is expected to pass by Tuesday night.

The DWD also expects heavy rain, strong winds and hail in Hesse on Monday, with the possibility of severe thunderstorms too. Again, in the south of the state, there is a low possibility of hurricane-force winds and tornadoes.

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