Storm in the Eifel

Tornado hits houses and uncovers roofs

Roetgen. A tornado uncovered roofs of the small village Roetgen and frightened the citizens. Two houses no longer have an upper floor. Fortunately, only one person was slightly injured.

After the alleged tornado in the Eifel community of Roetgen south of Aachen, the cleaning and repair of the damaged houses will begin on Thursday. "The house owners will inspect the damages, maybe insurance companies will come," said Roetgen's mayor Jorma Klauss (SPD).

The short, violent storm had uncovered roofs and damaged around 30 houses in the town on the border to Belgium. A spokesman for the fire brigade's operational management told the German Press Agency on Wednesday evening that ten of these houses were no longer habitable for the time being. Two houses in Roetgen no longer have an upper floor. There had been a slightly injured person who had been brought to a hospital by ambulance as a precaution.

„The storm swept through, short and violent", the spokesperson for the fire brigade described the natural event. The storm quickly dissipated afterwards. Damage was relatively concentrated on two roads. However, trees had also fallen in the surrounding area. Cars were damaged by flying items.

Solidarity among neighbours

In the primary school in Roetgen on Wednesday evening a care centre had been set up. The fire brigade estimated that about 30 people temporarily needed other accommodation. The mayor reported, however, that many people stayed with acquaintances for the night. In addition, a Roetgen hotelier had offered his rooms free of charge for those affected. "The solidarity is once again great in our community.“


Fire brigade and rescue services were attending with more than 200-strong force. In addition there were about 30 policemen. The German Weather Service confirmed that a thunderstorm had hit the Eifel. A DWD meteorologist said that it still had to be checked whether the storm could be classified as a tornado. A video distributed by WDR via Twitter shows a clearly visible tornado running through the village.

Under the expression „tornadoes“, meteorologists of the German Weather Service classify an air column in contact with the ground, which rotates around a more or less vertically oriented axis and can be found under a deep cloud base. According to the DWD, other prerequisites for the formation of the column are strong temperature differences, rising air and vertical wind shear, i.e. an increase in wind speed. In 2018, the DWD had registered 17 tornado events across Germany, four of them in NRW.

The number of unreported cases is high, as tornadoes can only be confirmed by eyewitnesses. In addition, they develop unpredictably within a few minutes and often pass just as quickly. Every tornado is dangerous: Experts warn that there could always be fatalities. Original text: GA Bonn/dpa Translation: Mareike Graepel