German weather service says storm generated 3 tornadoes

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BERLIN — A storm that swept across parts of Germany generated three tornadoes, the country’s weather service said Saturday. One of them left a trail of destruction and more than 40 people injured in a western city.

Meteorologists had warned of heavy rainfall, hail and strong gusts of wind in western and central Germany on Friday, and people in the western state of North Rhine-Westphalia were advised to stay home. Storms that struck Thursday disrupted traffic and uprooted trees, causing them to fall onto roads and rail lines. They also flooded many basements across western Germany.

The German Weather Service confirmed three tornadoes in North Rhine-Westphalia — in Paderborn, in nearby Lippstadt, and on the edge of the town of Hoexter, news agency dpa reported.

Forty-three people were injured in Paderborn as the tornado tore across the city’s downtown area on Friday afternoon, 13 of them seriously, Mayor Michael Dreier said.

Trees in a park and stop lights “snapped like matches,” roofs were ripped off buildings and windows smashed, he told reporters on Saturday, and the storm left a roughly 300 meter (yard) -wide trail of destruction. The windshield of the firetruck was damaged when a tree fell on it. However, the firefighters were not hurt.

Police urged people to stay home or stay out of the city on Saturday so as not to get in the way of recovery work. However, they warned of the possibility that high winds could cause damage.

Further south, authorities in Bavaria said 14 people were injured Friday when the wooden hut they were trying to shelter in collapsed during a storm at Lake Brombach, south of Nuremberg.

Elsewhere in Europe, Spain was sweltering Saturday under unusually high temperatures for late spring, with a mass of hot, dry air carrying dust from North Africa.

The mercury rose to 42.3 degrees Celsius (108 Fahrenheit) on Friday afternoon in Andujar, in the southern Andalucia region, after reaching 39.5 degrees Thursday. Similar temperatures were also recorded in Cordoba, and Sevilla, the capital cities of the provinces.

At least 13 regions were on alert Saturday due to heat, Spain’s State Meteorological Agency AEMET said, and the temperatures could provoke storms in five of them. Expect high temperatures on Saturday.

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