Bonn Compared to the catastrophe suffered in the surrounding areas, Bonn has seen minimal damage from the severe weather. Flooded cellars, standstill at the main train station, further damage to the Maximilian Centre and destruction to some municipal buildings are the consequences of the heavy rainfall.
While people in the surrounding areas were fighting for their lives, the situation in Bonn had mostly calmed down by late Wednesday evening. Bonn fire brigade had counted a total of 250 deployments by midday on Thursday. The good news for the emergency forces and all Bonners: According to current information, no one in the city has been injured.
Fallen trees, flooded streets, underground garages full of water and overflowing drains provided a challenge for the city's public order service who were called out in 55 operations. Meanwhile, the civil engineering office was busy pumping water out of the Am Propsthof underpass. According to the municipal authorities, the pumping station there had failed. There was further damage on Rosenburgweg in Kessenich, where work was already under way to repair the storm damage from last August.
Bonn fire services help at the Ahr
Mayor Katja Dörner (Greens) thanked all the rescue workers and helpers on Thursday and said in reference to the region: “Our thoughts are with the people who have been much more badly affected by the storm.” Alongside the work in the city, the Bonn fire brigade dispatched 20 emergency workers and all-terrain vehicles as well as its water rescue equipment vehicle to the district of Ahrweiler to support the rescuers there.
In Bonn, on the other hand, the extent of the damage could be surveyed already on Thursday. The Maximilian Centre at the main train station was hit hard, suffering from severe water damage again following the thunderstorm almost four weeks ago. The Bayerische Versorgungskammer, owner of the centre, announced on Thursday that large amounts of rainwater appeared to have run from the passageway between the bus station and the underground station into the shopping arcade. The fire brigade helped to pump out the water and collect the rainfall using suction devices. “The exact cause has yet to be clarified. The shop areas in the passage on the first basement level were affected,” a spokeswoman reported.
She stated that investigations are needed to determine the extent to which other areas are affected. It is not yet possible to estimate what Wednesday's heavy rainfall will mean for the reopening, the spokeswoman explained. “The current situation is very challenging for everyone involved and we are doing our utmost to repair the damage,” she said. The main power supply in the Maximilian Centre was damaged during the thunderstorm on 20 June and since then, the two-year-old shopping centre with over 40 shops has been fully closed.
Water in many Bonn schools
The storm also caused damage to many municipal buildings: The entire floor of the sports hall An der Josefshöhe was flooded. Water entered the kindergarten on Ostpreußenstraße via the roof terrace. Likewise at the Kunstmuseum, where some artworks were moved to safety at a depot. Water damage was also reported by the Clara-Schumann-Gymnasium, the Tannenbusch and Hardtberg school centres, the Rochusschule, the Hainstraße kindergarten, the Till-Eulenspiegel-Schule, the Ludwig-Erhard-Berufskolleg, the Schloßbachschule, the Laurentiusschule, the Finkenhofschule, the Elsa-Brandström-Schule, the Hedwigschule and the theatre workshops. Fallen trees damaged the fence of the game enclosure at the Waldau. Repairs were able to be made without the animals escaping.
No trains at the main station
Nothing was running at Bonn's main station on Thursday. A Mittelrhein train had been parked at platform 1 since the afternoon of the previous day. A sign on the front of the locomotive read: "Shhh! Train is sleeping". Some people went to the train station anyway. For example, Pia Finder, who wanted to travel to her home town of Münster. “I have to see how I can get there now. A few trains are still supposed to run,” she said and set off on the route that the friendly DB service employee had described to her, namely with tram line 62 to Beuel and from there along the right bank of the Rhine towards Cologne. Outcome unclear. Deutsche Bahn spoke of “massive disruptions” throughout North Rhine-Westphalia during the course of Thursday.
In contrast to the route on the left bank of the Rhine, the route on the right bank of the river between Koblenz and Cologne is passable, although delays are to be expected. Furthermore, not every stop could be served following the severe weather. Deutsche Bahn was not yet able to confirm when regular operations could be expected again. At Bonn Hauptbahnhof, railway staff said that the storm had caused damage to the signal boxes, the effects of which were not foreseeable, at least in the afternoon.
And inner-city tram services also remained disrupted on Thursday. Many trams stopped on open tracks during Thursday night and the drivers were driven to the trams by the Stadtwerke in the morning in order to keep to the timetable to some extent. Due to flooding on the tracks at Brühler Straße, the 18 and 68 tram lines from the direction of the main station were closed. Initially it remains unclear whether operations can resume again on Friday. The trams were also unable to run between Dransdorf and Bornheim. In addition, there was a malfunction with the entry switch at the Dransdorf depot.
Due to closures at Bahnhofstraße in Duisdorf, the Brüser Damm/Pascalstraße roundabout and the Am Propsthof underpass, the buses on routes 608, 609, 610, 611, 630 and 632 had to be partially diverted to alternative routes. “Under the circumstances, operations have started reasonably smoothly. I am very grateful to my colleagues for their commitment,” said Anja Wenmakers, Managing Director of SWB Bus und Bahn.
Meanwhile, Bonorange points out that furniture destroyed by the floods will be accepted free of charge at the two recycling centres Am Dickobskreuz and Südstraße. The offer applies to waste generated on Bonn city territory. Residents should identify themselves accordingly. Disposal of bulky waste normally costs 15 Euro per car boot load.
(Original text: Andreas Baumann and Philipp Königs, Translation: Caroline Kusch)