Autobahn and road closures as flooding hits North Rhine-Westphalia
Heavy rainfall and thunderstorms have hit North Rhine-Westphalia, Lower Saxony and the Sauerland region, causing autobahn and road closures, and flooded streets and cellars. As of May 22, the German Weather Service (DWD) is maintaining the highest weather warning for the regions most affected by flooding.
Flooding and mudslides hit Germany’s Sauerland region
North Rhine-Westphalia and the Sauerland region of northern Germany saw flooding and mudslides on Monday after thunderstorms moved slowly across northern and western Germany.
The districts of Olpe, not far from Cologne, and Menden, just outside of Dortmund, were particularly affected. In the Märkischer Kreis region, to the east of Wuppertal, emergency services carried out around 200 operations on Monday evening.
As streams burst their banks and mudslides slipped into surrounding fields, firefighters were called to overflowing streets to help locals secure their flooded basements. The city of Lage, which lies in the Lippe district just outside of Bielefeld, saw around 80 litres of rainfall per square metre.
Areas of Lower Saxony were similarly affected by heavy rain, with a mudslide burying parts of Autobahn 46. Speaking to Tagesshau, a spokesperson from the local St. Ingbert fire brigade said that the flooding and mudslides had caused “considerable traffic obstructions and traffic jams.”
Extreme weather warning remains for Sauerland and NRW
For now, the German Weather Service (DWD) is maintaining the highest weather warning for parts of Sauerland, parts of Westphalia and for the Olpe and Lippe districts. A violet weather warning also remains in place for the whole of southern Westphalia.
The DWD has issued further severe weather warnings for regions further north, with storms expected across Germany’s coastline.
Thumb image credit: Heide Pinkall / Shutterstock.com