Mayor Michael Dreier can hardly put into words the force with which the tornado raged through the heart of Paderborn in less than a minute.

"It was an unimaginable picture, and it still is." In a corridor about 300 meters wide, the tornado moved late Friday afternoon with deafening noise through the middle of the city in East Westphalia, covered roofs, broke traffic lights like matches, numerous cars and also a bus were buried under trees.

Flying pantiles literally ate their way into the facades of the houses.

43 people were injured in Paderborn, 13 of them so badly that they had to be treated in clinics.

A woman was in mortal danger.

"It's shocking to see what can happen to a city in such a short amount of time," Dreier said.

Pure burger

Political correspondent in North Rhine-Westphalia.

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The swath of devastation runs right through Paderborn, more than 100 buildings were damaged, some of them severely, according to an initial assessment.

The headwaters of the Pader River, with which the city wants to apply for UNESCO World Heritage status, were also hit hard. Almost half of the trees there have been snapped off or uprooted.

In an industrial park, the raging vortex knocked over trucks like toys, sent guardrails and other metal parts flying through the air like shredded paper.

Dozens of companies are struggling with enormous damage.

The emergency services were also affected.

The access to the Technical Relief Agency was blocked by a fallen tree, a fire engine that had been deployed was hit by a tree, the roof of the Paderborn district police authority was covered, and several patrol cars were damaged.

Deep "Emmelinde" swept across large parts of Germany on Friday with great force.

The north-east of North Rhine-Westphalia was hit hardest.

At least three tornadoes developed there in the course of heavy thunderstorms: in Paderborn, Lippstadt and Höxter-Lütmarsen in the Weserbergland.

Although tornadoes are small-scale weather phenomena, where they occur, extreme dangers arise from one moment to the next - not only from the force of the air vortex itself, but also from falling trees and flying objects and debris.

Mobile phone videos can be seen on social media of rotating air masses brewing on the horizon near Lippstadt, whirling ever wilder.

Images from Paderborn are even more impressive, showing objects torn loose and being blown through the air,

Unlike in Paderborn, according to the police's previous findings, there were no injuries in either Lippstadt or Lütmarsen.

But even from there, witnesses report apocalyptic scenes.

In the old town of Lippstadt, business people and customers fled to safety at the last moment.

Around 120 bathers at the "CabrioLi" leisure pool also got away with the shock.

They were temporarily locked in because fallen trees had blocked the entrance.

Tree uprooted, roof truss destroyed

As in Paderborn, the property damage in Lippstadt is enormous.

Two pictures clearly show this: In the district of Hellinghausen, the tornado tore the entire roof structure off the tower of the Catholic Church of St. Clemens, and within seconds it knocked over the Friedenseiche on the Lippstadt Rathausplatz, which had stood there for 150 years.

The old town of Lippstadt had to remain closed on Sunday.

Hundreds of helpers have been in action since Friday, but the clean-up work is well advanced.

But the danger is still too great that loose tiles could fall from the roofs or damaged trees could fall over.

Because the unteachable and onlookers didn't stick to the barriers, there are now checkpoints at the access roads.

"Disaster tourism hinders rescue workers and clean-up efforts",

complained the Mayor of Lippstadt Arne Moritz on Facebook.

At the same time, he thanked them for their great willingness to help.

Moritz canceled the old town festival planned for next weekend with a "heavy heart".

Also for safety reasons, digital distance learning will take place at the seven Lippstadt schools affected by the storm until further notice.

On Saturday, North Rhine-Westphalian Prime Minister Hendrik Wüst (CDU) came to Lippstadt and Paderborn to get his own impression of the devastation.

He was deeply affected and thanked the emergency services and the many volunteers who helped until late at night.

In view of the enormous damage, it was "a small miracle that, as of now, no one died," said Wüst after his tour of Paderborn.

When he saw the first mobile phone videos of the tornadoes on Friday evening, his first thought was that such pictures are actually only known from the USA.

Wüst is now convinced that the tornado on Friday will demonstrate the importance of climate protection with a vengeance.

“When you see this swath of devastation here, it really grabs you.

Then you see

As if to confirm, the German Weather Service (DWD) warned a few hours later in its forecast for North Rhine-Westphalia, which was published on Sunday morning, of thunderstorms, some of them violent, with heavy rain, gusty winds and hail.

Locally, there is another risk of severe weather on Monday due to the low “Finja” approaching from France via Belgium, so tornadoes are also possible again.

According to the DWD, this time in the southeastern part of North Rhine-Westphalia.