Travel disruption: N. France and Germany embrace damaging thunderstorm

 Monday, May 23, 2022 

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There is a series of damaging thunderstorms erupted across northern France Friday, May 20, producing three confirmed tornadoes in Germany. This weather caused major damage to multiple cities and towns and was responsible at least one death, impassable roads and disruptions to railway travel.

Mayor Michael Dreier of Paderborn said that more than 43  people were injured in Paderborn, Germany, as a particularly dangerous tornado tore across the city’s downtown area on Friday afternoon, 13 of them seriously.

While many were injured in the path of destruction of these tornadoes, at least one death was reported so far. A 38-year-old man in the town of Wittgert, about 70 miles (111 km) northwest of Frankfurt died after “he suffered from an electric shock in a flooded cellar”, the BBC reported.

There are severe storms first swept across Belgium, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and Germany on Thursday, that had brought heavy rain and gusty winds to the area with multiple reports of flooded basements, uprooted trees and travel disruptions preceding the severe weather that was to come on Friday.

By Friday afternoon, potent storms began to erupt once again, this time across northern France bringing heavy rainfall, large hail and damaging wind gusts to the region. As the storms continued on their path from west to east, they tracked into western and central Germany where they became capable of producing tornadoes.

One out of the three destructive tornado-producing storms that swept through the region set its sights on the town of Lippstadt before tracking eastward into the neighboring city of Paderborn located about 110 miles (177 km) north of Frankfurt in northwest Germany, where the second tornado was reported.

The preliminary reports state that the tornado that impacted the city of Paderborn, home to nearly 150,000 people, may have traveled just over 13 miles (about 21 km), affecting the nearby municipalities of Benhausen, Neuenbeken and Altenbeken, at around 5 p.m. local time on Friday.

The third and final tornado was reported in the town of Höxter, Germany, home to 31,000 people and just 30 miles east of Paderborn. Damage that ensued from this tornado included impassable road conditions, several roofs ripped off of houses, shattered windows and large tree branches broken, uprooted and snapped.

While tornadoes swept through portions of western and central Germany, heavy rains, hail and damaging wind also occured in the region where rainfall totals from Belgium to northwest Germany ranged from 1 to nearly 2 inches on Friday.

Massive hail stones were also reported, ranging from ping-pong size to golf-ball size in some locations,” Smithmyer said.

As the weekend comes to a close, the meteorologist warn that there could be another round of stormy weather in the same regions that had severe weather on Thursday and Friday.

Another storm will move into western and central Germany on Monday causing more showers and thunderstorms.

Some of the thunderstorms could produce torrential downpours and gusty winds hindering clean-up efforts from the tornado-stricken areas of Germany as showers and thunderstorms move into eastern Germany Monday night producing locally heavy rain.

The conditions are expected to improve across the country as by Tuesday and Wednesday, but a stray shower or thunderstorm cannot be ruled out as a front lingers in the region.

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