Western Europe – Storms Cause Floods in Switzerland, Germany and UK

Thunderstorms affected parts of western Europe over the weekend 24 to 25 July 2021. Flooding caused traffic chaos on roads in London, UK and Berlin, Germany. Vehicles were swept away by powerful flash floods in Lucerne Canton in Switzerland.

Floods in London 25 July 2021. Photo: London Fire Brigade


Heavy thunderstorms hit Switzerland overnight 24 to 25 July 2021. Strong winds, hail, lightning and heavy rain affected areas of Bern, Lucerne, Neuchâtel and Schwyz Cantons in particular. Police in Schwyz Canton reported 300 incidents due to the severe weather. In Lucerne police reported 210 incidents. There are currently no reports of injuries.

Some roads were flooded in the canton of Neuchâtel. Police reported the communities of Küssnacht, Immensee, Einsiedeln, Galgenen, Siebnen, Buttikon, Schübelbach and Reichenburg were worst affected in Schwyz Canton.

In Lucerne, police said the communities of Werthenstein, Wolhusen, Ruswil, Neuenkirch, Rontal and the city of Lucerne were hardest hit by the thunderstorms.

The most dramatic scenes were of the flooding in Wolhusen in the district of Entlebuch in Lucerne Canton. Raging torrents of water swept vehicles along streets and dumped them into the Kleine Emme river. Meteo Schweiz said Wolhusen saw 26 mm of rain in just 10 minutes during the storm.

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London, UK

Storms in South East England on 25 July 2021 brought heavy rain and flooding to parts of the capital, London.

The London Fire Brigade said they received more than 600 calls to flooding incidents, including flooding to roads and properties, ceilings collapsing and vehicles stuck in water. Crews used specialist water rescue equipment to rescue five people from a car stuck in flood water in Worcester Park, South West London.

Vehicles were stranded on flooded roads, including the on the M11 motorway. Several train stations were closed due to flooding. Videos shared on Social Media showed flood water flooding into the Pudding Mill Lane station. Two hospitals in East London suffered some rain damage, causing operational difficulties.

The UK’s Met Office said St James Park in central London recorded 41.6 mm of rain on 25 July. Mean Total Rainfall for London for July is 34.6 mm, according to the World Meteorological Organization (WMO).

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Berlin, Germany

Parts of Berlin, the German capital, and surrounding areas of the state of Brandenburg saw heavy rain and strong winds on 25 July 2021. The Berlin Fire Service carried out 250 weather-related missions during the evening of 25 July. In most cases the calls were to cellar flood water from basements and streets. Flooding caused disruption on several major roads, including those around Berlin Airport. Berlin Fire Service declared a temporary state of emergency due to the volume of calls.

Figures from Deutscher Wetterdienst (DWD) showed that 51.2 mm of rain fell in 1 hour in the locality of Karow in Pankow, north Berlin between 18:00 and 19:00 on 25 July 2021.

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