Another tornado in germany: here’s how to behave properly during extreme thunderstorms

Thunderstorm complexes pass over Germany

The report of a tornado in East Frisia unsettles many people – the weather phenomenon is occurring more and more frequently in Germany. We show you here how you should behave in the event of a tornado, but also in the event of severe thunderstorms or floods.

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Offenbach (dpa/tmn) – Countless thunderstorms hit us every year- there one does this already times and goes comfortably further stroll or continues the bicycle route. But Andreas Friedrich of the German Weather Service (DWD) emphasizes: "During thunderstorms, life is always in danger, because any lightning can be fatal."

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Safe during thunderstorms: This is what you have to consider

How to behave when walking, cycling or riding a motorcycle? If you can no longer manage to retreat into a building, you need a hollow, i.e. a depression in the terrain. "You should move away from trees, because they are also dangerous when lightning strikes", explains Friedrich. "If one found a trough, I would still the

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Being fast saves lives

How much time do I have to search for such a place? "There’s this golden rule where you count to three," explains, Friedrich explains. When you see lightning, you start counting. If you only get to three before it thunders, then the thunderstorm is less than a kilometer away. "Then it becomes dangerous in any case."

Would it be an option to drive into a forest? "No, forest is always bad", emphasizes Friedrich. "Because if lightning strikes a tree and you are standing close to it, you can get debris. A tree like this can literally explode, the bark flying off. Then one is endangered there rather than in the open air."

And if you’re caught in the woods by a thunderstorm with no way out, the expert recommends finding a treeless hollow – that is, going as low in the terrain as possible.

Thunderstorms: How safe is the car really?

In the car, you may be safe from lightning, but not from falling trees

Image: Primoz Ravnik / EyeEm / Getty Images

But the car is not a problem, is it?? "In a normal car you are in a so-called "faraday cage and thus safe, says Friedrich. But you should not hold your arms out of the window and better close it. Also, do not park near trees that could fall on the vehicle.

Am I always safe in the house or do I have to adjust my behavior, like not talking on the phone? "This rule existed in the days of the cord phone", explains Friedrich. Because when lightning strikes nearby, electrical systems can be damaged by surges – and you can also be damaged directly on wired devices. "That’s why I wouldn’t use a corded phone during thunderstorms. It is different with a smartphone."

There have been fatal lightning strikes like this before, where people were charging their smartphone on the power plug while listening to music on headphones. The expert advises in any case to unplug electrical appliances in the house.

Danger from tornadoes: How to stay safe

Tornadoes are a breathtaking but dangerous natural spectacle

Image: Jason Persoff Stormdoctor / Getty Images

Üor a long time, tornadoes were something that people in Europe were more familiar with from the U.S. news or Hollywood movies. But hurricanes with devastating consequences can also occur in and around Germany. The DWD speaks of 20 to 60 tornadoes per year in Germany- so you should know how to react in case of emergency.

Tornadoes are easy to recognize by the long cloud trunk that extends from the sky to the ground. If you see this phenomenon, you should act, because the direction in which the storm is moving is often difficult to predict. The DWD offers the following tips:

  • If you have a basement, this is the best possible hiding place during a tornado. But indoor spaces like a bathroom also protect you from flying debris. Stay away from windows in any case!
  • If you are outdoors, look for a hollow in the terrain similar to a thunderstorm and lie as flat as possible in it, face down. Stay away from buildings whose debris could hit you. Falling trees also pose a great danger.
  • You should also close shutters, garage doors and all doors of your house or apartment to avoid property damage.

Depending on the strength and speed of movement of the tornado, you can flee in the opposite direction by car or bicycle. Observe the cloud tube briefly beforehand to better assess its direction. If escape is no longer possible, do not stay in or near the car. Unlike a thunderstorm, you are not safe in it!

Heavy rain: the right thing to do in case of flooding

Floods and high water also occur frequently during thunderstorms with heavy rainfall. The danger from large masses of water is often underestimated. Here’s what you should keep in mind:

  • Do not stay in shoreline areas, as the terrain may break off due to undercutting
  • Turn off electrical appliances and fuses in all rooms that could fill with water to avoid electrocution
  • Do not drive your car on (partially) flooded roads under any circumstances, as obstacles or holes in the ground located in the water are not visible – in addition, the engine can be damaged enormously
  • Do not enter underground garages, as they can become deathtraps during heavy flooding
  • If you’re out and about, take refuge on as high a point as possible and keep your distance from fast-flowing water

Even though videos and photos of floods are important for documentation, you should never put yourself in danger to get the most spectacular shots possible.

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