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Bonn and the Rhine-Sieg and Ahrweiler districts: Emergency services in operation after heavy thunderstorms hit the region

Bonn and the Rhine-Sieg and Ahrweiler districts : Emergency services in operation after heavy thunderstorms hit the region

Following the heat over the past few days, the skies broke on Saturday night with thunderstorms and heavy rain over Bonn and the region. In the Rhein-Sieg district alone, the fire brigade responded to 130 calls. The storm caused a power outage at Bonn's main railway station.

It was a restless night for the emergency services in Bonn and the Rhein-Sieg district. Following the heat over the past few days, many thunderstorms brought heavy rain on Saturday night. The fire brigade in the Rhein-Sieg district alone had to respond to 130 calls during the night. The rescue control centre reported on Sunday morning that the main incidents had been flooded basements and streets. This was also the case on Johann-Quadt-Straße in Sankt Augustin. Here, the water collected in the railway underpass, and the fire brigade had to remove the manhole covers so that the water could drain away. In Much a fire on a roof terrace had to be put out by the fire brigade. However the storm did not cause any injuries.

Almost two weeks to the day after the severe storm that caused massive damage, particularly at the Oberpleis industrial estate ‘In der Brückenwiese’ and in Uthweiler, several storm fronts passed over the Siebengebirge on Saturday night and in the early hours of Sunday morning. The fire services in Königswinter and Bad Honnef reported more than 40 deployments by Sunday afternoon. While in Bad Honnef the call-outs were limited to the valley, in Königswinter it was again mainly the mountain region that was affected. "However, it was less limited to one location than a fortnight ago," says Lutz Schumacher, spokesperson for the Königswinter volunteer fire brigade.

Siegburger Straße at Uthweiler affected once more

This time there were also emergency operations in Stieldorf, Eudenbach and Vinxel, among other places. Due to "massive silting", the Siegburger Straße (L 143) near Uthweiler had to be closed for clean-up operations on Sunday. Schumacher reports a "restless night" with a total of 28 operations up to Sunday noon. The first alert due to storm damage was received at 11.43 p.m., shortly after which the Situation Centre at the Oberdollendorf fire station was manned to coordinate the operations. By 5 a.m., four units with around 80 fire fighters had been deployed for a total of 18 operations.

In twelve cases, the cellars were flooded. On the Hüscheider Weg and the Landesstraße 331 near Ittenbach, fallen trees and broken-off branches caused traffic obstructions. Mud and water dirtied several streets.

The Siegburger Straße (L 143) near Uthweiler was affected by a mud flood, as it had been a fortnight ago. The fire brigade and staff from the building maintenance depot carried out clearing and clean-up work. Due to "massive silting", the state agency responsible, Straßen.NRW, in coordination with the Königswinter public order office, decided to close the road for the duration of the cleaning work from the junction of the L 331 and L 143 up to Buchholzer Straße, Bonn police explained on Sunday. A specialist company had been hired to remove the stubborn dirt. However, initial forecasts that the work would be completed within three hours did not ring true: On Sunday evening, the cleaning was still going on. According to the police, it was not yet possible to predict when the road would be reopened.

Bad Honnef fire brigade not deployed in the mountain region

In contrast, there was not a single operation for the emergency services in the mountainous region of Bad Honnef. "For us, everything was concentrated in the valley," says Björn Haupt, spokesman for the volunteer fire brigade in Bad Honnef. The fire services were called out to a total of 15 operations. "The main issues here were basements that had filled up with water and a fallen tree," Haupt said. A total of 41 firefighters were deployed and were able to return home at 3 am.

People in the northern part of the Neuwied district apparently also got off lightly during the storm: According to Linz police, trees fell in several places in their area but fortunately no one was injured. Minor property damage was also caused by a lightning strike at an unoccupied residential building in Linz in the early hours of the morning. According to police, the fire brigade quickly managed to extinguish the fire.

Defective escalator and blocked passage at Bonn Hauptbahnhof

It was the same scene in Bonn: no casualties, but 21 operations for the fire services. Here, too, it was mainly a matter of basements filling up and water collecting in houses and streets due to the heavy rain. The fire brigade was able to handle all operations with their own forces, together with the volunteer fire brigade. The storm also left damage at the main railway station in Bonn. After a power failure, the passage from the central bus station to the tram platforms at the station was closed off. The duration of the closure was not known at the time of writing. The escalator at the Maximiliancenter is no longer functioning due to the power failure and is to be repaired in the coming days. The escalators to the tram platforms at Thomas-Mann-Straße were not affected. Passengers with walking difficulties can use the lift at platform 1 to reach the trams.

The Rheinbach fire brigade had to respond to four calls. In two cases, branches or an entire tree had fallen onto the A61 carriageway, according to Celine Wirtz, deputy spokesperson for the Rheinbach fire brigade. In addition, the fire services had to remove another tree that had come down in Wormersdorf and was blocking a road. During the night, a cellar in Ramershoven also had to be pumped empty of rainwater.

All forces around the Ahr on standby

The entire fire brigade forces from Bad Neuenahr-Ahrweiler, Gönnersdorf, Niederlützigen, Brohl and Bad Breisig had been pulled together. Following smaller operations in Ahrweiler, they moved quickly on to Heimersheim to pump the countless cellars empty of water and mud. Traces of the long night-time operations were still visible on Sunday morning. According to Ahrweiler fire brigade chief Marcus Mandt, a total of around 70 cellars were flooded. However, after the first shower, the fire brigade was prepared because the father of one of the staff members is a meteorologist and was able to make very accurate forecasts from the headquarters in Bad Neuenahr-Ahrweiler, so that the fire brigade was able to protect some of the particularly endangered cellars. Relief workers were still busy repairing the damage on Sunday.

The danger of thunderstorms seemed to have passed for the time being. On Sunday morning at around 8.30 a.m. the temperature reached 22 degrees, rising to 28 degrees during the day.

(Original text: By Sebastian Fink, Jörg Manhold and Heike Hamann, Translation: Caroline Kusch)