A rare tornado for this part of the world swept through a populated area in western Germany on Wednesday, May 16, 2018, leaving a trail of destruction and 2 people injured. The storm that produced the tornado also dropped large hail on the region.
The tornado formed just before 18:00 local time (16:00 UTC) and moved through Lower Rhine region of North Rhine-Westphalia, just west of Düsseldorf.
According to local police reports, the twister lasted between 10 and 15 minutes and passed through districts of Viersen-Boisheim, Nettetal-Schaag, Schwalmtal-Dilkrath, Schwalmtal and Niederkrüchten.
It damaged some 40 to 50 homes, some of them so badly that they are temporarily uninhabitable.
NIEUWS | Spectaculaire beelden van tornado gisteren in de grensstreek. Zo zie je ze niet vaak. Lijken wel Amerikaanse toestanden. De feiten en alle beelden op een rij | https://t.co/eJazDpvxPR pic.twitter.com/SmabD9l2gZ— RobertDeVries.net (@weermanrobert) May 17, 2018
Two people were injured during this event. A 23-year-old man was seriously injured due to falling branches while another suffered minor injuries.
Meteorologist Jörg Kachelmann said the tornado was 'very striking.'
First analysis performed by Kachelmann said that observed damage indicated F1 tornado (118 - 180 km/h, 73 - 112 mph), which corresponds to a weak tornado.
"However, if we look at the almost complete destruction of a forest between Boisheim and Dillkrath, the picture is different."
"At this point, the tornado was stronger and must be classified in the F2 category (above 180 km/h, 112+ mph), a strong tornado," he said, adding that Germany saw at least 6 tornadoes so far this year.
Featured image: Tornado in western Germany on May 16, 2018.