The storm left a path of devastation in Großheide, Aurich district.
© Jörn Hüneke
The storm left a path of devastation in Großheide, Aurich district.
A severe storm, complete with a tornado, has hit a small town in northern Germany, leaving a trail of destruction in its wake and making several homes completely uninhabitable, according to local authorities.

The foul weather hit the town of Grossheide in Germany's northwestern Lower Saxony state on Monday evening. The powerful storm ripped roofs from houses, overturned vehicles and uprooted trees, as some terrified locals filmed a funnel cloud raging over nearby fields.

Footage published on social media showed a huge grey whirlwind swirling over a grove not far from Grossheide and forcing people to seek shelter in their homes. Some said they have never seen anything like it in the area before.

According to estimates published by German media, the tornado was between several dozen and a hundred meters in diameter and was rotating at a speed of between 180 and 250 kilometers per hour.

"Based on eyewitnesses and video material, one can clearly say it was a tornado," a German Weather Service (DWD) expert, Andreas Friedrich, told German broadcaster NDR on Tuesday. Some local authorities, however, said it was still "unclear" if it was indeed a tornado and were referring to the disaster as a "tornado-like storm" instead.

Comment: The reason they're hedging is because tornadoes in their reality 'does not compute' - they're not 'supposed' to happen in Germany!

The storm left a trail of destruction in the town. Piles of debris littered the streets and some houses could be seen severely damaged. The storm also broke off chunks of fences and walls and sent rocks flying through the air. Several power, water and gas supply lines were damaged as well.

"It was pure chaos that had to be cleared up," Manuel Goldstein, a spokesman for the local fire department, said, calling the storm "unprecedented." Rescue workers struggled to get to the damaged buildings because the streets were filled with debris, fallen trees and knocked-over vehicles.

The exact scale of the damage is still unclear but at least 50 houses were damaged, according to the local authorities. Five homes have been rendered completely uninhabitable. No one was injured in the storm - something the local emergency services officials called a "miracle."

The shock weather incident comes less than a month after neighboring German states North Rhine-Westphalia and Rhineland-Palatinate were hit by severe floods. The flooding in western Germany last month claimed nearly 200 lives, with at least 141 fatalities in Rhineland-Palatinate alone.