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Tornado leaves trail of destruction in Luxembourg

August 10, 2019

A police spokesperson said the twister left a "swath of desolation" over a large area. Elsewhere, a vortex hit central Amsterdam as awestruck observers caught the incident on video.

Luxembourg tornado
Image: Reuters/Y. Reiff

Tornado in Luxembourg

A tornado ripped through southwestern Luxembourg on Friday, injuring 19 people, two seriously.

Officials said around 160 buildings were damaged by the twister, which struck the towns of Petange and Kaerjeng, near the border with France and Belgium.

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Images and videos on social media showed the tornado, with winds of up to 128 kilometers per hour (80 miles per hour), throwing debris, roofs and tree branches into the air. 

A spokesperson for Luxembourg police reported a "swath of desolation" spanning up to 6 kilometers.

Prime Minister Xavier Bettel said a crisis unit had been established and the government was helping those impacted by the destruction.

On Saturday, a government spokesperson said up to 100 houses were no longer inhabitable. He could not yet quantify the damage, but said it was "enormous."

The country's rescue center said cleanup would take days. Emergency shelters have been set up for those who lost their homes.

Read more: Insuring against the inevitable risk of climate change


Luxemburg, Petange: Tornado richtet Zerstörung an
The streets of Petange were littered with debrisImage: Reuters/P. Bourgeois

The tornado also caused damage, but no injuries, in France's Meurthe-et-Moselle region.

The German states of Saarland, Rhineland-Palatinate and Baden-Württemberg were also hit by heavy storms on Friday, causing flooding. 

In Amsterdam, residents and tourists were caught off guard by another whirlwind. It was unclear if the wind speeds were high enough to classify it as a tornado. Some damage to buildings was reported, but no injuries. 

Tornadoes are less common in Europe than in the United States, where "Tornado Alley" in the Midwest sees many each year. The last known fatalities resulting from a tornado in Europe were in November 2016 near Rome.

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cw/kl (AFP, dpa)

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