Some 40 people were injured, 10 of them seriously, when a suspected tornado tore through the German city of Paderborn on Friday as storms raged across the western part of the country.
Images on social media showed the distinctive swirling cyclonic clouds of a tornado hurling debris through the air, though the German Weather Service did not immediately confirm that a tornado had struck.
Police said as many as 40 people were injured, 10 of them seriously, in Paderborn, a city with a population of about 150,000 halfway between Frankfurt and Hamburg. Rail and road transportation was disrupted throughout the region.
In nearby Hellinghausen, images shared on social media showed that a steeple had been ripped off the roof of a church and its remains were scattered across the graveyard.
Police released pictures showing trees felled or split in half, as well as roofs that had been swept of tiles by winds in Paderborn.
“The sheets and insulation were blown miles away,” police said in a statement. “Countless roofs are bare or damaged. Many trees still lie on wrecked cars.”
They asked locals to stay home as the German Weather Service warned that stormy weather would continue.
Forecasters said the extreme weather was caused by warm air coming from Africa meeting relatively cooler air coming down from northern Europe.