Thunderstorms wreak travel chaos in Germany - but summer is coming back!

Thunderstorms wreak travel chaos in Germany - but summer is coming back!

With torrential rain, hailstones, flooding, flight cancellations and lightning-struck railways, this week certainly got off to a thundery start. But don’t despair! A bright spark - the long-awaited return of summer - is just on the horizon! 

Train cancellations in Hesse

The heavy thunderstorms that began over the weekend continued to lash western and central Germany at the beginning of this week, unleashing widespread travel chaos. After a railway signal box on the busy Walldorf - Frankfurt route was struck by lightning, all trains had to be redirected, causing delays of up to 90 minutes. The damage was only repaired late on Monday afternoon. 

Significant delays were also caused by overhead line damage on the routes between Darmstadt and Frankfurt, and Hanau and Aschaffenburg in Bavaria. Trees and other debris falling on the track ensured for delays of up to an hour. In some places, trains were forced to abandon their journeys and passengers provided with vouchers for taxis instead. The disruption is expected to last until Tuesday evening at least. 

Air travel disruptions and property damage

The weather was also responsible for causing major disruptions to those travelling through Frankfurt airport. For the safety of staff and passengers, the runway was temporarily closed on Sunday evening, according to an airport spokesperson. By Sunday evening, 26 flights - mostly domestic ones - were cancelled and a further five diverted.

Meanwhile, in Mainz, two people were trapped under a tree after it fell over in strong winds. Luckily, they escaped with only minor injuries. Nearby, the wind dislodged roof tiles and beams, causing substantial damage to other properties. In the district of Aschaffenburg in Bavaria, roof tiles became unstuck, electricity pylons buckled and cellars flooded, resulting in the electricity being temporarily switched off during the night.  

After the storm comes the sun

With the storms gradually moving southwards into the middle of the week, there is hope on the horizon. But first, some heavy rain: DWD (German Weather Service) predicts that during the day and into the night of Tuesday, August 20, showers in the south and southeast are expected to intensify, with rainfall of up to 4 litres per square metre possible in just 24 hours. There will also be scattered thunderstorms over the North Sea, sometimes reaching into Schleswig-Holstein.

By Wednesday, however, the storm looks likely to blow itself out. The rain will steadily begin to ease, with overcast skies throughout Germany and the occasional rain shower in the south. By Thursday, the thermometer should be starting to climb, with temperatures reaching 25 degrees in most parts of the country and highs of up to 27 degrees expected! By the weekend, it could even reach 30 degrees. Summer, old friend, it’s good to have you back!



Abi Carter

Managing Editor at IamExpat Media. Abi studied German and History at the University of Manchester and has since lived in Berlin, Hamburg and Utrecht, working since 2017 as a writer,...

Read more



Leave a comment