Travel chaos after thunderstorms and rain lash eastern Germany

Commuters faced travel disruption on Wednesday due to torrential rain, giant hailstones and thunderstorms in the east of the country.

Travel chaos after thunderstorms and rain lash eastern Germany
Lightning above the Federal Chancellery in Berlin on Tuesday night. Photo: DPA

The storms resulted in flooded streets, homes and roads as well as fallen trees – and fires caused by lightning strikes, reported broadcaster RBB 24.

Hailstones as big as table tennis balls – around five centimetres in size – were recorded by the German Weather Service (DWD) in Saxony and Brandenburg.

In Berlin and nearby Potstdam alone, emergency services were called out more than 300 times.

Due to flooding, sections of two important motorways had to be closed. The Stadtring (A100) at Kaiserdamm in the direction of Neukölln was still shut on Wednesday morning.

Traffic was being diverted via the Kaiserdamm exit, causing delays.

SEE ALSO: IN PICTURES – Giant hailstones hit Munich as storms continue across Germany

Flooding in the west of Berlin. Photo: DPA

The A115 (known as the AVUS) between Spanischer Allee and Kreuz Zehlendorf was closed in both directions on Wednesday, a police spokesman said. The closure was causing traffic jams.

The Schlichtallee road in Rummelsburg between Haupt and Lückstraße was also closed. Other roads, including the Sachsendamm, became flooded.

Emergency forces had to pull several vehicles out of the water in the night. Traffic lights also failed throughout the city.

SEE ALSO: Thunderstorms and heat wave forecast for Germany

S-Bahn disruption

The Berlin S-Bahn was also affected by the weather. According to operator Deutsche Bahn, a lightning strike in Alt-Reinickendorf was causing delays and possible train cancellations on the S25 line.

Some ticket machines were not working due to power outages.

Passengers at both Berlin airports – Tegel and Schönefeld – faced delays as they were unable to board or disembark aircrafts for several hours between Tuesday evening and Wednesday morning. However, a spokesperson for the airports said take-offs and landings were possible.

The spokesperson could not say how many passengers were affected.

Cars stuck

The Brandenburg state capital Potsdam was also hit particularly hard by the thunderstorms and torrential rain. Cellars and underground garages filled with water, streets were flooded, trees overturned and cars were damaged.

Rescue workers in Potsdam. Photo: DPA

In the Babelsberg district, a car got stuck in an underpass and had to be pulled out of the water by rescue teams. In the Bornim area, a house caught fire after lightning struck. The residents were able to get out in time and nobody was injured.

Storm chaos

Giant hailstones, similar to the hail showers in Munich on Monday, were reported in Saxony and Brandenburg.

Meanwhile, in Prerow, in the northern German state of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, an apartment building caught fire after lightning struck. Luckily, nobody was injured.

In Bad Hersfeld in Hesse, thunderstorm warnings had an effect on the festival programme for Hessentag, an annual celebration held in the central German state. To be on the safe side, organizers cancelled Tuesday evening's events.

More rainfall and storms

Forecasters have a warning in place for more storms in the east of the country on Wednesday. The warning is from 1pm until midnight on Thursday.

Lightning in Brandenburg on Tuesday night. Photo: DPA

Thunderstorms, giant hailstones, winds of up to 100km/h and heavy rain could be on the way.

In some places, such as parts of Saxony, huge amounts of rainfall is possible, a DWD spokesperson said.

The map shows the storm warning in eastern Germany on Wednesday, and the heat warning further east.

Temperatures in eastern Germany will remain very warm on Wednesday. According to the DWD, the mercury could climb to 34C, with the Brandenburg city of Frankfurt/Oder becoming particularly hot.

In western Germany it is becoming cooler, and in many places the temperature will remain below 20C.

The thunderstorms are expected to move east towards Poland in the night. The risk of storms in Germany decreases on Thursday and Friday.

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Summer to arrive early in Germany with scorching temperatures of up to 30C

A wave of hot weather is set to hit Germany this weekend with summery highs of up to 30C - and the heat-wave could last a number of weeks.

Summer to arrive early in Germany with scorching temperatures of up to 30C

As open-air pools and cinemas start to open their doors in the coming weeks, Germany is set for a sizzling spell where temperatures soar into the high 20s and even hit 30C. 

After a relatively mild week, a sudden heat wave is due to arrive on Saturday as the mercury hits at least 25C in most regions. All over Europe, a warm mass of air is set to push through from the south and replace the cooler spring breeze, with temperatures shooting up faster in the east than in the west. 

“With temperatures of at least 25C, summer will truly begin on Sunday,” said meteorologist Jan Schenk. The shock of hot weather will enter suddenly, he added, with the season changing almost overnight. 

In the northern parts of Germany, temperatures are even set to climb as high as 30C on Monday and Tuesday, making it the ideal time to head to a beer garden or lake for the first time this year.

In the south, meanwhile, it’s likely to remain more overcast – but with at least 25C temperatures in most regions, it’s still ideal weather to be out and about.

But those who don’t have time for a swim or a barbecue this weekend shouldn’t worry about missing out on the fun: according to meteorologists, this hot spell could last well into June.

READ ALSO: Seven signs that spring has arrived in Germany

This week, however, temperatures are likely to remain fairly cool at around 15C, though the icy spells could be behind us for now. Even in the night, the mercury is unlikely to drop below 10C. 

Nevertheless, the perfectly clear blue skies are a little way off yet. The string of hot and clear days is likely to be punctuated by heavy rain showers and thunderstorms, particularly in the western and southern regions of Germany.