At least one person was killed and dozens were injured after three tornadoes struck western Germany, the local authorities said on Saturday, as extreme weather in Europe also threatened the continent elsewhere.
One of the tornadoes left “a picture of horror” on Friday in Paderborn, Germany, the city’s mayor, Michael Dreier, told reporters on Saturday. Strong winds and torrential rains ripped apart buildings and caused floodwaters to rise. At least 43 people were injured in the storm, some seriously, a statement from the city’s police said.
“An unspeakable tornado raged over Paderborn and destroyed parts of the city very badly,” according to Mr. Dreier. He said trees had been snapped like matchsticks and residential buildings left uninhabitable.
In Wittgert, in far-western Germany, a 38-year-old man was killed in a fall in his basement, which had flooded amid the storms. Local news media said that he had suffered an electric shock and most likely hit his head, and that he could not be resuscitated.
The storm system was expected to dissipate on Saturday, Germany’s weather service said, but the police in some areas urged residents to remain home, saying that strong winds continued to pose a danger to the public.
Farther south in Europe, an unusually early heat wave was driving up temperatures on Saturday in Spain and in parts of France, which were sweltering under what was expected to be the hottest May on record, meteorologists said, a sign of what may come this summer.
Although individual weather events are difficult to link to climate change, experts have said it is one driver behind the intensifying heat waves and storms that have hit Europe in recent years.
Rare deadly flooding last year in Germany and Belgium — after both countries saw record rainfall — was made more likely by climate change, scientists have said.
This weekend in Spain, where the state weather forecaster has predicted an unusual heat wave, officials have warned residents to stay hydrated, avoid hot areas and care for those susceptible to the heat, including older people and children. In some parts of the country, temperatures are expected to exceed those of an average spring by about 10 degrees Celsius, or about 50 degrees Fahrenheit, reaching as high as 107 degrees Fahrenheit in the southern region of Andalusia.
Driven by hot air currents from North Africa, heat waves have already broken records in the Andalusian city of Jaén, which on Friday recorded its hottest May day ever (40 degrees Celsius, or 104 degrees Fahrenheit), Spain’s state meteorological agency said.
France and Italy are also experiencing earlier than expected heat waves this month, which meteorological experts say could break spring weather records.