Germany braces for tornados as ‘Lambert’ arrives

BERLIN: Germany braces for thunderstorms, giant hailstones and even tornados as the “Lambert” low-pressure system moves across the country.

The German Weather Service (DWD) on Thursday predicted an immediate heightened risk of tornados, storms and extreme hail after weeks of warm weather.

The service said the movement of a patch of low pressure — and the presence of muggy and hot subtropical air — would cause the atypical conditions for the country.

What is expected?

The DWD said it expected two unusual weather systems to make their presence felt.

In the western states of North Rhine-Westphalia and Rhineland Palatinate, it expected heavy rain storms that would make their way north and east to Lower Saxony and Hamburg, dumping heavy loads of rain into the night.

Meanwhile, more localized storms were expected later in the day in southwestern Germany, with hailstones of about 5 centimeters (2 inches) in diameter possible.

The DWD said there would be a heightened risk of tornados in central parts of Germany.

While tornadoes in Germany are generally not as destructive or as frequent as in some other parts of the world, such as the United States, they can still cause damage to structures, vehicles and vegetation.

Low pressure moving across Europe

According to the DWD, the stormy weather is due to the low-pressure system “Lambert,” which has moved from Spain to France and now to Germany.

That system is carrying “very humid and hot air” from the Mediterranean area, dumping higher amounts of rain than usual at weather fronts as it plows across the continent.

“We have to expect heavy rain in scattered areas that will cause small rivers and streams to overflow and flood underpasses,” DWD meteorologist Sebastian Schappert told German news agency DPA.

“Particularly over the center of Germany, isolated and locally narrowly limited tornadoes cannot be completely ruled out.”

Heavy rain led to disastrous flooding in Germany’s Ahr Valley region in 2021 when at least 134 people were killed as flash flooding wrecked whole towns.

Such extreme weather events are said to be made more likely due to fluctuations in temperature and humidity as a result of climate change. —DW

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