Despite fallen trees and disruptions to air and rail traffic, the storm in the northwestern half of Germany on Thursday was less severe than predicted by the German Weather Service (DWD).

The DWD had warned of thunderstorms with heavy rain, hail and heavy gusts of wind.

The thunderstorm front reached North Rhine-Westphalia on Thursday afternoon via the southwest near Aachen and then moved across the Rhineland, Münsterland and the Ruhr area.

In many places the sky suddenly darkened.

There was local heavy rain, thunder and lightning.

The storm front later moved across South Westphalia in the direction of East Westphalia-Lippe.

A man was seriously injured in a lightning strike on a cargo ship in Duisburg.

For security reasons, Düsseldorf Airport stopped operating for around 30 minutes in the afternoon.

Half a dozen fallen trees were reported on the Lower Rhine and in Münsterland, and railway lines were blocked.

A tree fell on the north-south main line between Düsseldorf and Leverkusen.

In Cologne, heavy rain, hurricanes and hail caused dozens of fire brigade operations: there were flooded basements, loose roof tiles and scaffolding, broken branches and fallen trees on streets and railway tracks.

As reported by Deutsche Bahn, rail traffic to Germany in the neighboring Netherlands had to be temporarily suspended due to the thunderstorm.

The route from Cologne to Amsterdam was particularly affected.

There were delays and cancellations.

Because of the risk of storms, the city of Krefeld had temporarily brought the refugees from Ukraine who were housed in lightweight halls in the forest to a school.

In Ahaus in Münsterland, the castle garden was closed because several large trees had fallen, as the city announced.

The Düsseldorf wildlife park and the Dortmund zoo were closed in the afternoon due to the announced storm.

As a precaution, the animals of the zoo were brought into the indoor enclosure.

No major damage had been caused in Rhineland-Palatinate and Saarland by Thursday evening.

The police headquarters in Mainz reported a handful of operations, including a fallen scaffolding and a car damaged by falling branches.

Nobody was injured.

In Trier, a person suffered minor injuries when they drove their car over a fallen tree, the local police headquarters said.

In addition, a freight train drove into a tree lying on the track.

The praesidia in Kaiserslautern, Koblenz and Ludwigshafen did not record any incidents related to the weather.

Also on Friday there is a risk of severe weather in large parts of Germany

According to the German Weather Service (DWD), large parts of Germany are also likely to experience “extreme storms” with thunderstorms, hail and storms on Friday.

According to a meteorologist, the highest warning level (level 4) should be declared in many places.