A car was overturned and roofs were destroyed when a tornado struck overnight in northwest Germany in the latest spate of storms in Northern Europe.
Bocholt, a town in the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia, witnessed extreme weather conditions early Wednesday, with wind speeds of 181 to 253 kilometers per hour (112 to 157 mph), according to the German Meteorological Service, or DWD.
“There was a tornado in Bocholt last night,” DWD meteorologist Andreas Friedrich told CNN. “It is the fifth confirmed tornado in Germany this year.”
Karsten Tersteegen, a spokesman for the city of Bocholt, told CNN that the medium-strength tornado “wreaked havoc in one stretch of a road.”
“A total of nine houses were damaged, and about 100 trees have been uprooted,” he said. “Roof tiles were swirled around, and one roof came off completely. Windows and winter gardens were damaged.
“A car was caught by the wind and thrown 10 meters in the air, and other cars parked nearby were damaged.”
He said that one person suffered slight injuries. The incident commander for Bocholt’s fire services noted that the town was “lucky it occurred at night.”
Tersteegen said about 90 firefighters and 14 fire wagons were deployed throughout the night to respond to the incident.
Friedrich said that the weather service often cannot predict such tornadoes through radar or satellite images since the storm systems are too small or low in altitude.
“This morning I came in at 9 a.m. and was called by a local journalist,” he said. “A few minutes later I was in contact with the ESWD (European Severe Weather Database).
“Based on the damage patterns that were analyzed and reports from eye witnesses, we came to the conclusion that the damage we saw in Bocholt could have only been caused by a tornado.”
The meteorological service warned that heavy thunderstorms can be expected into Wednesday evening and Thursday morning across southwest Germany, with hale and gale-force winds. It said further tornadoes could occur.
In March, a tornado ripped through the German town of Roetgen, damaging more than 30 houses and injuring five people.
Roetgen Mayor Jorma Klauss said that about 10 houses had to be evacuated, and numerous properties suffered broken windows.
CNN’s Nadine Schmidt reported from Berlin, and Matthew Robinson wrote in London.