Frankfurt Airport crippled by flash floods: Over 100 flights affected amid raging German storms
Frankfurt Airport, one of Europe’s busiest transit hubs, faced significant disruptions as an unexpected deluge overwhelmed its premises on Wednesday, August 16. Massive rainstorms turned its runways into expansive pools, leading to the cancellation of at least 100 flights, and the diversion of 23 others to alternative destinations, as per AFP sources. Viral online footage showcases the airport’s grounds and adjoining streets submerged, painting a grim picture of the storm’s intensity.
Germany’s financial heart, Frankfurt, found its emergency services stretched thin in the face of this meteorological challenge. The city’s fire brigade reported over 500 storm-related interventions, tackling more than 350 cases of building inundations and fallen trees. The scale of the crisis compelled the activation of even off-duty responders, according to the AFP.
Beyond the airport’s confines, Gelsenkirchen in the North Rhine-Westphalia region also grappled with severe weather repercussions. German news outlet, The Local, had forecasted nationwide thunderstorms, barring the northwest, with predictions pointing to acute rainfall events, reaching volumes between 25 to 40 litres per square metre in quick succession, elevating the flood risk in select locales.
Intriguingly, this incident trails a bizarre weather event in southern Germany just a week prior. Reutlingen city was showered not by rain, but an unparalleled volume of hailstones. While the hail size remained typical, the sheer volume was unprecedented, blanketing the city with up to a foot of ice in merely 60 minutes. The Guardian detailed the unusual recourse of deploying snowplows in summer to tackle this icy onslaught. As the hailstones melted, they compounded the city’s woes by flooding basements and underground parking zones.