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Severe floods hit Germany again, destructive tornado in Lower Saxony


A new round of heavy rains hit Germany and Austria on August 16 and 17, 2021, causing severe floods and landslides and spawning at least one destructive tornado.

One person was killed and another is still missing in Germany after sudden floods swept them away off a bridge in Höllentalklamm, a popular destination for hikers also known as Valley of Hell, Bavaria on August 16.

According to witnesses, a number of people were carried away after the wooden bridge they were standing on collapsed, prompting a major rescue operation.1 Other reports say 2 people were swept away when the bridge collapsed while others were caught by the raging water or cut off from their hiking paths by the flood elsewhere.2

A state of emergency was declared in northern Germany after a tornado damaged more than 50 homes in the village of Grossheide, Lower Saxony. DW reports roofs ripped from homes, vehicles overturned, and toppled trees.3

While nobody was injured, a spokesman for the fire brigade described the storm's power as unprecedented in the region. "It was a pure chaos that had to be cleared up," he said.


At least 4 people were injured on August 17 in neighboring Austria and around 100 were rescued from their cars after heavy rains caused severe floods and mudslides, particularly in the Pinzgau and Pongau regions in Salzburg.

Roads and railway tracks were engulfed by raging waters and a small train was swept away and engulfed in mud in Salzburg on August 17.

A bus with two people and a car were also swept into a creek by a mud avalanche in the community of Dienten, Pinzgau.

Three people were injured, one of them seriously, in the incident and rescued by firefighters. Another person was injured in Guntramsdorf after falling during cleanup efforts.

More than 1 500 emergency services were called to more than 500 incidents from Gmunden am Traunsee to Wolfern in the Steyr-Land region, Upper Austria.

The storms flooded roads, blown off manhole covers and inundated cellars.4

The storms hit just over a month after record-breaking rains caused catastrophic floods in which at least 184 people died in Germany, 42 in Belgium, 1 in Italy, and 1 in Austria.5

For Germany, this was the worst natural disaster since the North Sea Flood of 1962 in which 374 people lost their lives.


1 One dead, one missing after flood sweeps away bridge in Germany – euronews

2 Germany: 1 dead, 1 missing after flood brings down bridge – AP

3 Germany: Suspected tornado rips through northern district – DW

4 Damage and devastation in several states as Austria’s summer of wild weather continues – The Local

5 Catastrophic floods in Germany claim lives of at least 184 people – country's worst natural disaster since 1962 – The Watchers

Featured image: Tornado in Lower Saxony on August 16, 2021. Credit: N3r0n

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