Friday, 24 May 2024

Hailstorm in Germany Rips Through a Town, Damaging Buildings and Cars

An estimated 80 percent of buildings were damaged during a hailstorm in a town in southern Germany on Saturday, according to local authorities, leading officials to declare a state of emergency.

The storm was part of a weather system that caused injuries and damage across the southern part of the country over the weekend during one of the most turbulent summers Europe has faced in years.

Hailstones, some of which measured three inches wide, damaged cars, roofs and windows during a 15-minute storm in Bad Bayersoien, a small town of 1,300 people in Bavaria.

Video footage from Bad Bayersoien shows entire roofs destroyed by hail. Roof-mounted solar panels were pierced by hailstones and car windows were smashed, according to news reports.

On Sunday morning, local authorities ordered a state of emergency in order to mobilize state resources to clean up the town; emergency roofing was ordered and will be installed until the damage can be repaired permanently.

“The end of the operation is not yet in sight and the forces on the ground still have some heavy work ahead of them,” Anton Speer, the district’s commissioner, said in a statement.

Elsewhere in Bavaria, the storm left several people injured. In Kissing, a town just outside of the city of Augsburg, 12 people were hurt when a gust of wind tore through a festival tent as it was being erected. About 100 residents of a senior home in the town were relocated after the storm damaged the facility’s roof.

The storm was part of a weather system that also caused major flooding, toppled a crane and uprooted trees in the region. The cost of the damage has not yet been assessed.

Floods, fires and heavy rains have landed repeated blows across Europe this summer, with the authorities scrambling to respond to the extreme weather.

Large areas of southern Europe baked under extreme temperatures last week, the latest in a string of heat waves that have scorched the continent and sent residents and tourists scrambling for cool shelter.

In a region where it is not especially common for homes and businesses to have air-conditioning, many areas sweltered under temperatures exceeding 86 to 95 degrees Fahrenheit and some topped 104 degrees. Temperatures in some cities were not as high but still far above the norm for so late in the summer.

In Greece, tinder-like conditions and heat waves have led to the worst ever recorded wildfires, according to authorities.

Southern Germany remains on alert for heavy rainfall until Tuesday.

Christopher F. Schuetze covers German news, society and occasionally arts from the Berlin bureau. Before moving to Germany, he lived in the Netherlands, where he covered everything from tulips to sea-level rise. More about Christopher F. Schuetze

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