Dozens hurt as tornado rips through German city

Paderborn bore the brunt of stormy weather in western and central Germany

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A tornado swept through the western German city of Paderborn on Friday, injuring dozens of people as it tore roofs from buildings, toppled trees and sent debris flying for miles, authorities said.

Meteorologists reported heavy rainfall and hail in western and central Germany, with storms producing gusts of winds up to 130kph. Storms on Thursday had already disrupted traffic, uprooted trees and flooded hundreds of basements in western Germany.

Paderborn police said 43 people were injured in the storm, 10 seriously. Thirty were hospitalised.

One woman was in a life-threatening condition, police said.

They urged people to remain in their houses so as not to hamper rescue efforts or endanger themselves.

Heavy storm damage was also reported in the nearby town of Lippstadt. A church steeple toppled to the ground and more than 100 people were temporarily trapped at a open-air pool after fallen trees blocked the exit, German news agency DPA reported.

Authorities in Bavaria said 14 people were injured when the wooden hut they were trying to shelter in collapsed at Lake Brombach, south of Nuremberg, on Friday. Among the injured were several children and a 37-year-old woman, who was airlifted to a hospital with serious injuries.

Police said two French citizens died on Thursday after their motorised paraglider was caught by a strong gust of wind shortly after taking off from an airfield in Ballenstedt, 175 kilometres south-west of Berlin. Police in Saxony-Anhalt state said the pair, both 59, were urged to land because of a forecast for an abrupt change in the weather.

Shortly after the warning, “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.

Schools in the western city of Cologne closed before midday on Friday to give students time to make it home safely before the storms hit.

More than 130 people were killed in the region last summer after it was hit by a flash flood in July.

Updated: May 21, 2022, 9:28 AM