tornado ripped through Hamburg
© Axel Heimken / DPA / AFP
A rare tornado ripped through Hamburg on Thursday, causing travel chaos as many regional and long-distance train services were canceled.

German rail operator Deutsche Bahn had to shut down several lines in the north of the country, including its well-traveled lines from Hamburg to Berlin and Hannover, after strong winds blew trees and branches onto the tracks.

Regional train provider Metronom also said several of its services were facing similar disruptions while they worked to clear the tracks of trees and other debris.

A tornado was first spotted about 10 kilometers from Hamburg Airport at about 11:30am local time on Thursday, according to the German Weather Service (DWD).

The storm was spotted hitting land by German weather service provider Kachelmannwetter shortly afterwards. Many locals posted footage of the violent storm as it swept through the city.

While the storm didn't stay on land for long, the DWD warns of further tornadoes and extremely stormy conditions across the north and east of the country throughout the day.

Europe is currently being brutalized by extreme weather at each end of the scale, as severe storms break through the recent heat wave which struck much of the continent in recent days.

Just last week, Germany was experiencing temperatures as high as 33C in the northeast and 36C in the south.