Fallen trees, floods, lightning strikes: Due to severe storms in western Germany, the fire brigades in North Rhine-Westphalia were in continuous operation on Thursday evening. The thunderstorm front with heavy rain and gusts of wind should reach East Germany on Friday.

A storm front with heavy rain and squalls has left its mark in western Germany. In several cities in North Rhine-Westphalia, the fire brigades were in constant use on Thursday evening – for example because of fallen trees, flooded basements and streets. There were failures and route closures in rail traffic. The German Weather Service had warned of the thunderstorm front with heavy rain. On Friday, the storm will shift to the eastern half of Germany.

Storms topple trees and cause flooding

In the Duisburg district of Baerl, the phones fell out at times, according to the fire brigade, which had to process 500 emergency calls in a short time. By 10 p.m., more than 600 operations related to the storm had been reported to the city’s fire department. There was a multitude of downed trees, as well as flooding of streets and basements. On the Ruhr, the fire brigade rescued people who had capsized with a boat.

An approximately 20 meter high oak tree was split in Mülheim/Ruhr, probably by a lightning strike. Half of a tree fell on a two-storey house and damaged the roof. A car was hit by the tree. People were not harmed.

A lightning strike caused a roof truss fire on a family home in Bergisch Gladbach. Before the fire brigade arrived, a resident tried to fight the flames himself from a ladder with a garden hose. No one was injured, according to the fire department.

In Krefeld, the fire brigade was in constant use because of the storm. Many citizens pulled smaller trees and branches from the streets. Some train routes were temporarily blocked by trees.

A barn in Hatten near Oldenburg caught fire on Friday night due to a lightning strike. According to police reports, the building burned down completely. Vehicles and tools from a farm were stored in the barn.

Storm front reach East Germany

On Friday there will be storms in the eastern half of Germany, as the German weather service predicted in the morning – “with heavy rain in spots of up to 25 liters per square meter in a short time”. In the afternoon, according to the DWD, “in particular from East Saxony to Western Pomerania, there is an increased risk of severe thunderstorms with heavy rain up to 40 liters per square meter, larger hail and heavy gusts of wind up to 100 km/h”. Late in the evening the showers and thunderstorms will move east.