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A freak storm which spawned three tornados and ‘snapped trees like matches’ has left dozens of people injured in western Germany, 13 of them seriously.
Meteorologists had warned of heavy rainfall, hail and winds of up to 80mph in western and central Germany on Friday, while people in the western state of North Rhine-Westphalia were advised to stay home.
Storms on Thursday had already disrupted traffic, uprooted trees that toppled onto rail tracks and roads, while flooding hundreds of basements.
Meanwhile Spain has been left sweltering during the hottest ever May after temperatures soared towards an ‘extraordinary’ 42C (107F) on Saturday.
A mass of hot, dry air carrying dust from North Africa pushed temperatures up to 15 degrees above average, with the mercury topping 41C (106F) in parts of the country.
In Germany, the national weather service confirmed its triple tornado terror today, with all three hitting North Rhine-Westphalia – in Paderborn, in nearby Lippstadt, and on the edge of the town of Hoexter, according to news agency DPA.
At least 43 people were injured in Paderborn as the tornado tore across the city’s downtown area on Friday afternoon, 13 of them seriously, Mayor Michael Dreier said.
Still from a video shows one of the three tornadoes which tore through western Germany
Trees in a park and stop lights ‘snapped like matches,’ roofs were ripped off buildings and windows smashed, he told reporters on Saturday, as the storm left a roughly 300 metre-wide trail of destruction.
One flying tree hit the windshield of a fire truck, but the occupants were fortunately unharmed.
Police urged people to stay home or stay out of the city on Saturday so as not to get in the way of recovery work.
They said they still expected possible risks from high wind.
Further south, authorities in Bavaria said 14 people were injured Friday when the wooden hut they were trying to shelter in collapsed during a storm at Lake Brombach, south of Nuremberg.
One woman, 37, was airlifted to hospital with serious injuries.
The tourists in Spalt had sought shelter from the approaching storm in the approximately 85 square meter hut, which then tilted to the side and collapsed.
Photos shared on social media showed cars in Paderborn had been upturned.
Chunks of trees hit cars and injured people in West Germany, police said, as roofs flew off houses
German band Rammstein also stopped a gig in Leipzig, east Germany as an arena announcer told concertgoers to seek shelter urgently amid a storm.
More than 40,000 fans in the Red Bull Arena took cover for 15 minutes before the band were able to continue.
A Green Party MP tweeted: ‘A reminder that the climate crisis will not take a break and that extreme weather will continue to increase.’
Elsewhere in Europe, Spain was sweltering Saturday under unusually high temperatures for late spring, with a mass of hot, dry air carrying dust from North Africa.
The mercury rose to 42.3 degrees Celsius (108 Fahrenheit) on Friday afternoon in Andujar, in the southern Andalucia region, after reaching 39.5 degrees Thursday. Two of the region’s provincial capitals, Cordoba and Sevilla, also saw similar temperatures.
At least 13 regions were on alert Saturday due to heat, Spain’s State Meteorological Agency AEMET said, and the temperatures could provoke storms in five of them. The ‘unusual and extreme’ temperatures are expected to peak Saturday.
Spain’s meteorological agency Aemet predicted ‘one of the hottest Mays in this country in recent years’ and said it was ‘extraordinarily hot for the time of year’.
Aemet said it activated its national plan for excess temperatures two weeks early on Thursday as ‘the summer is starting in the spring’.
Spokesperson Rubén del Campo said: ‘The last updates to the meteorological models confirm the extraordinary intensity of this heatwave.’
The red hot temperatures are forecast to push northeast in the coming days, with little relief expected until after Sunday
A mass of hot, dry air carrying dust from North Africa has pushed temperatures up to 15 degrees above average – with the mercury topping 42C (107F) in parts of the country on Friday
A man takes a picture of a thermometer displaying the ‘extraordinary’ temperature of 45C (113F) in Seville, Spain yesterday afternoon
It confirmed that on Friday the temperature at Seville airport reached 41C (106F), while the city of Segovia, north west of Madrid, had overnight temperatures above 20C (68F) for the first time ever in May.
Temperatures are expected to break the 100F (40C) barrier in several locations in the southern region of Andalucía today, and on the east coast around the Ebro valley – ‘something unheard of in that area in May’.
He added: ‘For Spain as a whole, it could be the most intense May heatwave of the past 20 years in terms of both the maximum and minimum temperatures.’
Speaking to El Paid on Friday, del Campo said summer is ‘eating up the spring’ and pointed the finger climate change, calling the rising temperatures a ‘direct and palpable’ consequence of it.
He said: ‘The climate in Spain isn’t the one we used to know. It’s got more extreme.’
The State Meteorological Agency said Friday it had put four regions on alert due to the heat.
The regions of Castilla-La Mancha, Extremadura and Madrid were under a yellow alert, meaning they were at risk, while the southern region of Andalusia was under an orange alert, meaning a significant risk because of the intense heat.
No region was under red alert, the highest level that corresponds to an extreme risk.