A rare tornado ripped through a small German town, carving out a “path of destruction” along the way by tearing away roofs and shattering windows.
About 35 homes were damaged and five people injured in the town of Roetgen, western Germany, when the “short but violent” tornado ripped through on Wednesday, according to a fire brigade spokesman.
The tornado carved a “path of destruction” according to German public broadcaster WDR. Ten houses are no longer liveable as a result of the storm, with the top floor of two homes completely destroyed and the windows of many buildings smashed.
Several cars were also damaged by falling trees, street lights, and debris. Footage captured by locals shows the wind funnel, which was later confirmed to be a tornado by weather experts, moving through the town.
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The town on the Belgian border is home to 8,600 people. Mayor Jorma Klaus said residents were “calm and collected” and praised a local hotel owner who offered free accommodation to those affected by the tornado.
Germany experienced 17 tornados last year, according to the German Weather Service (DWD), however large-scale destructive tornadoes are rare. “Such tornadoes are rare, but they can occur again and again – even in central Germany,” said a DWD spokeswoman on Thursday.
The clean-up operation began on Thursday with the first estimate of damages ranging into the hundreds of thousands. “The full extent of the damage is only now clear,” said the fire department spokesman.