Europe

Tornado as violent storms batter northern Germany

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Media captionWitnesses said a tornado picked up cars in the town of Buetzow near Rostock

A town in northern Germany has been badly damaged by a tornado that was triggered by violent storms which have left at least one person dead.

Witnesses in Buetzow, near Rostock, said cars were hurled 70m (230ft) and roof tiles blown off buildings, including the local hospital.

High winds, heavy rain and lightning have caused chaos across the region.

In the city of Hamburg, a man was killed and his pregnant girlfriend hurt when flying debris hit their car.

German media had reported wind speeds of up to 119km/h (74mph) in Geilenkirchen north of Aachen, and officials said at least 30 people across the region had been hurt by flying debris.

Image copyright EPA
Image caption The mayor of Buetzow says the town has suffered "massive damage"
Image caption Buetzow's streets are strewn with roof tiles and other debris
Image copyright AFP
Image caption There was also extensive storm damage in Hamburg
Image copyright EPA
Image caption High winds blew over trees across the region, causing major disruption
Image copyright EPA
Image caption Torrential rain left streets flooded in Hamburg

The full extent of the damage in Buetzow was revealed to its 8,000 residents on Wednesday morning.

Streets in the town centre were completely covered by red tiles blown from roofs.

A hospital had to be partially evacuated when its roof was damaged in the storm. The town hall, a nursing home and a church are also said to have been badly hit.

Mayor Christian Grueschow said the town had suffered "massive damage".

More than 100 emergency personnel were at the scene helping with the clear up, and two gyms were being used as emergency shelters, with some 300 beds for affected residents.

Also in Hamburg, five container ships broke loose from their moorings and some of them collided, German media reported. Tugs were used to bring them back to the quays.

Travel across the region has been disrupted with fallen trees blocking roads and rail lines.

The railway line between Hamburg and Luebeck was blocked in both directions by a fallen tree.

The storm followed a period of unusually warm weather across northern Germany and forecasters say more rain, thunder and lightning are expected on Thursday.

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