A fireman crosses a flooded street in Bottrop,
© dpa/Feuerwehr Bottrop
A fireman crosses a flooded street in Bottrop, North Rhine-Westphalia on Thursday, June 3rd.
Firefighters and police were called out numerous times on Thursday evening as thunderstorms brought traffic to a standstill, overturned trees and flooded cellars.

Extreme weather struck the western and central German states of North Rhine-Westphalia and Hessen on Thursday evening, with thunder, torrential downpour and hailstones wreaking havoc in the region.

The German Weather Service (DWD) urged residents of those areas to stay "vigilant" as they warned of oncoming thunderstorms, hail and downpour on Twitter on Thursday.

As thunderstorms picked up throughout the evening, firefighters were called out to deal with numerous incidents of falling trees, flooded streets and waterlogged cellars. In the town of Bottrop, North Rhine-Westphalia, a fir tree was struck by lightening and burst into flames - but the fire was quickly extinguished by the heavy rains, local residents and firefighters.

Meanwhile, in the municipality of Laer near Münster, police reported that an overflowing brook had caused both streets and cellars to flood.

In other parts of North Rhine-Westphalia, the gales were so strong they overturned trees. In the city of Braubach, a parked car was buried under fallen branches during the thunderstorm, causing firefighters to be called out to the scene.

The Ruhr area was also struck by heavy rainfall and thunder. In Essen, firefighters and police officers were called out as taxis and other drivers became stranded in flooded streets and manhole covers burst open.

© dpa/TNN | Markus Gayk
A section of the B42 motorway, which runs between Bonn and Darmstadt, also had to be cordoned off due to a fallen tree. On another part of the motorway, firefighters were called out to deal with a landslide caused by the storms.

Hailstorms accompanied the heavy winds and thunder, with hailstones as large as two centimetres wide.

Across the region, residents complained of their cellars being flooded as the rain continued well into the night, finally tapering off around 4am.

In total, police and emergency services were called out to around 50 weather-related incidents in North Rhine-Westphalia on Thursday night. In Hesse, firefighters had to deal with around 70 weather incidents throughout the evening and into the night.

While residents of Hessen, Rhineland-Palatinate and North Rhine-Westphalia battled against thunderstorms and gale-force winds, other parts of Germany enjoyed clear skies and summery temperatures. In the southwestern state of Baden-Württemberg, temperatures hit highs of around 28C on Thursday, while in Berlin and Brandenburg, they peaked at around 27C around midday.