Several Carnival celebrations have been canceled or cut short due to extreme weather. Thousands of revelers still braved gale-force winds to party on the streets, others took cover in bars.
The German Weather Service warned of gale-force winds of more than 100 kilometers per hour (more than 60 miles per hour) across parts of North Rhine-Westphalia on Thursday evening and early Friday morning.
The extreme weather forced the stage program in Düsseldorf to end early, sending many revelers to take shelter in bars in the old town. In Bonn, celebrations in the town center were canceled.
In Cologne, some 20,000 of people took to the streets amid heavy security. Police said there was a lower turnout on the first day of Carnival due to the weather.
The strong winds knocked down trees, scaffolding and party tents.
The main street festival component of Carnival kicked off at 11:11 a.m. on Thursday with activities across North Rhine-Westphalia. The German Weather Service predicted better weather for the rest of the festivities, which run through Wednesday and peak on Monday.
cw/msh (AFP, dpa)