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German city sends in snowplows after summer hailstorm

August 5, 2023

Around 250 workers took several hours to clear up to 30 centimeters of ice following the surprise hailstorm in the southwestern German city of Reutlingen.

A snowplow clears a layer of thick ice from a street in Reutlingen, Germany on August 4, 2023
The hailstorm caused ice up to 3 centimeters high to settle on the groundImage: Schulz/SDMG/dpa/picture alliance

Snowplows were deployed in the southwestern German city of Reutlingen after a severe hailstorm coated parts of the city with up to 30 centimeters (12 inches) of ice, officials said Saturday.

A "localized storm with hail and heavy rain" swept over the downtown area on Friday afternoon, a city official told AFP news agency.

The fire brigade said it was called out more than 120 times due to respond to the sudden storm.

"The first operations were people locked in their cars unable to move due to hail on the ground or because the doors [on their vehicle] could no longer be opened," a spokesperson for the emergency response center said.

A mechanical digger dumps ice into a skip after a mid-summer hailstorm in Reutlingen, Germany on August 4, 2023
Hundreds of workers and volunteers helped clear the ice, caused by the mid-summer hail stormImage: NEWS5/AFP

Snowplows were sent in to clear the streets of large deposits of ice from the hail storm and more than 250 emergency, city and volunteer workers took part in the cleanup operations.

A spokesman for the city said ice and leaves blocked the city's drain system, sparking some flooding of underground car parks, basements and residential buildings.

Two workers help clear the ice from a hailstorm in Reutlingen, Germany on August 4th, 2023
Emergency teams worked from 4pm local time until midnight to clear the iceImage: Schulz/SDMG/dpa/picture alliance

The Echaz River, which runs through Reutlingen, rose 1.5 meters (5 feet) in just a few minutes and briefly burst its banks nearby, but did not cause any major damage, AFP reported.

Reutlingen lies about halfway between Stuttgart and the Swiss border in the state of Baden-Württemberg.

mm/sms (AFP, dpa)

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