Storm in western Germany kills six, disrupts transport

DUESSELDORF Germany Tue Jun 10, 2014 8:30am EDT

1 of 2. Cars are pictured damaged by a fallen tree in a Gelsenkirchen dealership June 10, 2014. At least five people were killed in violent storms that swept Germany's most populous state late on Monday, felling trees, disrupting public transport and leaving some roads impassable.

Credit: Reuters/Ina Fassbender

DUESSELDORF Germany (Reuters) - At least six people were killed in storms that swept Germany's most populous state late on Monday, forcing Duesseldorf airport to shut down, felling trees and leaving some roads impassable.

After a scorchingly hot three-day holiday weekend, thunderstorms, strong winds and heavy rain pounded the western state of North Rhine-Westphalia, causing Germany's third-largest airport in Duesseldorf to close for about an hour.

Three people were reported to have died in the state capital when a tree fell onto a garden shed in which they were seeking shelter. Firefighters rescued three more injured people - two severely hurt - from the shed, according to media.

A cyclist aged around 50 died in nearby Cologne after being hit by a falling tree that local police said was probably struck by lightning. A 28-year-old cyclist in Krefeld was killed when a falling tree brought down an overhead electricity cable which electrocuted him. One other person died in the town of Essen while trying to clear a street.

Commuters were stuck in long traffic jams on Tuesday.

Ten incoming flights at Duesseldorf airport were diverted while 10 other flights were canceled. The airport said winds gusting up to 150 km per hour (93 mph) were recorded. It opened again at 10 p.m. (2000 GMT).

Early on Tuesday, national rail operator Deutsche Bahn said numerous train services were still suspended and trains in operation would face severe delays.

Fallen trees blocked some streets in Duesseldorf, where trams and underground trains were also stopped due to damaged overhead lines. Some locals reported electrical outages.

The storm front moved further northeast and the German Meteorological Service issued weather warnings for regions including Hanover and Bremen for later on Tuesday.

(Additional reporting by Tom Kaeckenhoff,; Thomas Seythal in Berlin; Writing by Michelle Martin and Annika Breidthardt; Editing by James Macharia)

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