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Deadly storm brings major disruption to Germany

September 24, 2018

One person has died and a 4-year-old is in critical condition after storm "Fabienne" raged across much of Germany. Transport links remain affected, but many revelers at the Oktoberfest ignored evening warnings.

Storm "Fabienne" in Saxony
Image: picture-alliance/dpa/B. März

Germany's first major autumn storm  devastated southern and central parts of the country on Sunday.

Storm "Fabienne" claimed the life of a 78-year-old German woman, who died after being struck by a falling tree at a campsite in Bavaria.

Meanwhile, in the neighboring German state of Baden-Württemberg, violent winds blew a large beech tree onto a car in which a 4-year-old boy was sitting. According to officials, the child suffered severe head injuries and was flown by helicopter to a nearby hospital, where he remains in critical condition.

The south of Hesse, parts of Thuringia and Rhineland-Palatinate, Baden-Württemberg, Bavaria and Saxony were all particularly badly hit by "Fabienne"

Several roads across Germany were closed as authorities cleared away fallen trees, while railway operator Deutsche Bahn said that several tracks and overhead lines in the south of the country had been damaged in the storm.

Several long distance routes remained closed or operated with a limited service on Monday.

Frankfurt Airport, Germany's largest hub, was also forced to cancel several flights due to the adverse weather conditions. The storm also disrupted air traffic in Switzerland, where Zurich, Basel and Geneva airports all reported major delays.

By Sunday evening, the German weather services took down all storm warnings, as "Fabienne" traveled southwards towards neighboring Austria.

Storm "Fabienne" wrecks house in Rhineland-Palatinate
The storm hit its strongest peak in the state of Rhineland-Palatinate late on Sunday afternoon, where several houses were badly wreckedImage: picture-alliance/Wiesbaden112.de/Stenzel

Oktoberfest revelers party in the downpours

In Munich, fears that the storm could disrupt the Oktoberfest failed to materialize despite heavy rainfall. 

On Sunday evening, the festival was given the all-clear from city officials to continue. "The storm is over. There was no evacuation," Munich authorities said in a short Twitter post.

Although the storm drove several festival-goers home early anyway, many still continued to party under the large beer tents while the famous Olympia Looping roller-coaster was running until around 11:30 p.m. local time (2130 UTC). 

Germany: Storm "Fabienne" hits the Oktoberfest in Munich
While several Oktoberfest-goers decided to leave early, many remained unfazed by the downpours and continued partying into the nightImage: picture-alliance/dpa/F. Hörhager

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dm/rt (dpa, AFP)