(Adds expected damage, updates death toll)
By Matthias Inverardi
DUESSELDORF, Germany, June 10 At least six
people were killed in storms that swept Germany's most populous
state late on Monday, forcing Duesseldorf airport to shut down,
felling trees and leaving some roads impassable.
After a scorchingly hot three-day holiday weekend,
thunderstorms, strong winds and heavy rain pounded the western
state of North Rhine-Westphalia, causing Germany's third-largest
airport in Duesseldorf to close for about an hour.
Three people were reported to have died in the state capital
when a tree fell onto a garden shed in which they were seeking
shelter. Firefighters rescued three more injured people - two
severely hurt - from the shed, according to media.
A cyclist aged around 50 died in nearby Cologne after being
hit by a falling tree that local police said was probably struck
by lightning. A 28-year-old cyclist in Krefeld was killed when a
falling tree brought down an overhead electricity cable which
electrocuted him. One other person died in the town of Essen
while trying to clear a street.
Commuters were stuck in long traffic jams on Tuesday.
Ten incoming flights at Duesseldorf airport were diverted
while 10 other flights were cancelled. The airport said winds
gusting up to 150 km per hour (93 mph) were recorded. It opened
again at 10 p.m. (2000 GMT).
Early on Tuesday, national rail operator Deutsche Bahn said
numerous train services were still suspended and trains in
operation would face severe delays.
Fallen trees blocked some streets in Duesseldorf, where
trams and underground trains were also stopped due to damaged
overhead lines. Some locals reported electrical outages.
The storm front moved further northeast and the German
Meteorological Service issued weather warnings for regions
including Hanover and Bremen for later on Tuesday.
(Additional reporting by Tom Kaeckenhoff,; Thomas Seythal in
Berlin; Writing by Michelle Martin and Annika Breidthardt;
Editing by James Macharia)