At least nine people lost their lives on Friday in Germany and other countries as a result of hurricane "Zeynep". In the Lower Saxony community of Wurster North Sea coast, a man fell from a roof during the storm and died. The 68-year-old man had tried to repair the damaged roof of a barn on Saturday night, police said. In the process, he broke through the roof and fell about ten meters, they said.
According to police, a motorist died on Friday evening near Altenberge in North Rhine-Westphalia when he crashed his car into a tree lying across the road. The trapped 56-year-old died at the scene of the accident, he said. Earlier, the WDR had reported about it. Around the same time, a man was driving his car in nearby Saerbeck when the vehicle overturned, according to police. According to the report, the 33-year-old also died at the scene of the accident. The cause of this accident was initially unclear, probably the car was caught by a gust of wind, said a spokesman for the fire department in the evening. A police spokesman could not confirm this early Saturday morning when asked. The man would be the tenth victim of the hurricane.
In the previous hurricane, "Ylenia," at least three motorists had died in weather-related accidents in Lower Saxony and Saxony-Anhalt: Two were killed by falling trees, and a third died when his trailer veered into the oncoming lane in the storm, causing an accident.
In the Netherlands, three people were killed by falling trees, including a cyclist. Great Britain also reported three fatalities. In London, the highest red alert level was declared for the first time. In Ireland, one man died as a result of the hurricane. In France, at least eleven people were injured. In the north of the country, around 130,000 households were without power in the evening.
The storm "Zeynep" also hit Hamburg and Schleswig-Holstein hard, but caused less damage than feared. Fire departments and police reported numerous incidents by Saturday morning, but initially, there was generally only property damage and fallen trees. During the evening, the German Weather Service had measured wind gusts of between 9 and 11 in Kiel, Hamburg, on Sylt and on Helgoland; in Büsum, a hurricane gust of 143.3 kilometers per hour was recorded.
Hamburg experienced a very severe storm surge. The water level at the St. Pauli gauge reached 3.75 meters above mean high water at about 5:30 a.m. Saturday. That was probably the peak, said a spokesman for the Federal Maritime and Hydrographic Agency. From 3.50 meters above the mean high water one speaks of a very heavy storm surge. In the flooded Speicherstadt, firefighters rescued two men trapped in their car early Saturday morning. According to police, the men were severely hypothermic and were taken to a hospital as a precaution.
Stormy weather expected to continue until Monday
In Bremen, a 55-meter construction crane collapsed. The crane crashed into an office building under construction during the night, a fire department spokesman said. "It looks devastating." A truck that had just passed by was also hit by the crane, he said. The driver was uninjured, he said. Debris is now blocking surrounding roads. The removal of the crane will take until the beginning of next week, he said.
On the coast in the Aurich and Leer area of Lower Saxony, it did not get noticeably quieter until 3:00, according to a police spokesman. A spokesman for the fire department there counted a total of almost 500 operations by three o'clock.
In North Rhine-Westphalia, the Emmerich Rhine bridge is closed until further notice. The reason for this is fallen scaffolding parts that protrude into the roadway, the police announced early Saturday morning.
The hurricane should move on Saturday over the Baltic States to Russia, as the German Weather Service (DWD) announced. Temporarily, it should become calmer, until on Sunday, especially in the south and in the center, again stronger gusts are expected - widespread with up to 60 kilometers per hour, on higher mountains also partly heavy gusts up to 100 kilometers per hour. It is expected to remain stormy at least until Monday, according to the DWD. "There is simply no calm returning," a meteorologist said. According to the experts, the focus of the current storm situation should be the northern half of Germany until Saturday morning. However, the DWD had also issued severe weather warnings for more southern regions - parts of Rhineland-Palatinate, Hesse and for northern regions of Bavaria - against hurricane-like gusts.
Rail traffic in northern Germany and northern parts of North Rhine-Westphalia remains severely restricted as a result of the storm. As reported by Deutsche Bahn in Berlin on Saturday morning, long-distance trains are still not running in the affected regions. This applies to connections north of Dortmund, Hanover and Berlin, as well as between Berlin and Halle (Saale)/Leipzig. Only on the high-speed line between Cologne and Frankfurt run individual trains.
Regional traffic is also still down across the board, the railroad continued to report. Extensive reconnaissance runs were initially required before traffic could be resumed, it said. "We, therefore, assume that the operation of long-distance services of Deutsche Bahn on the above-mentioned routes can be resumed successively from 9 a.m. on Saturday morning at the earliest," a customer information statement said. In areas with severe storm damage, however, a significantly later resumption is also possible.
Photo by Chris Gallagher