Severe storms bring giant hail, floods and damaging winds to Germany, Switzerland and France

Severe storms bring giant hail, floods and damaging winds to Germany, Switzerland and France

Severe storms, including hail, heavy rain, and gale-force winds hit parts of Germany Switzerland, and France on Monday and Tuesday, June 28 and 29, 2021, triggering widespread flooding and damage. 

In Germany, several road tunnels were flooded and rail services were suspended around the city of Stuttgart on Monday night, according to police and rail operator Deutsche Bahn. 

Photos and videos of the event showed floodwaters gushing down the streets, while car windscreens were smashed by huge hailstones. 

Emergency services across the southern states of Rheinland-Palatinate and Baden-Wuerttemberg reported hundreds of emergency calls, including for flooded cellars, downed trees, and landslides.

In the evening, strong winds tore off a part of the roof of the Stuttgart Opera while roughly 250 people were still inside after a song recital. 

A huge section of copper cladding crashed in the opera house gardens, managing director Oliver Hendriks told the AFP. No injuries were reported, but the staff was still assessing the damage as rainwater also infiltrated the opera house.

In Nottwill, the storms dumped hailstones up to 7 cm (2.8 inches) wide. In Fribourg, authorities received 300 calls for assistance, including to rescue a class of 16 children and two adults stranded during the hailstorm. Six of the children and one adult were taken to the hospital for injuries. 

At least five were also injured in the German-speaking Swiss cantons, including a cyclist who sustained head injuries. 

In France, hail lashed the southeastern Vosges region on Tuesday, forcing residents had to use snow shovels and snowplows to clear up the debris. 

Featured image credit: Meteovilles

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