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Where did the beautiful Rheinpark disappear to? When storm destroyed my view – and more!

As we already got going with the park topic, meaning this post about Nordpark and Südpark, let’s stay with the topic for one more post. Although the atmosphere of this post will be a little bit different. A little bit sad and horrifying, one might say.

Before hitting the main point, I think it’s good to give a small warning for those planning a trip to Düsseldorf. The weather in Düsseldorf can be quite unpredictable. In other words, you can never really rely on the weather forecasts. There are days when even looking out of the window doesn’t help you; from one window you might see the sun shining from a cloudless sky, while behind the opposite window there is a thunderstorm and a huge hail shower. So good luck with deciding what to wear when stepping out of the door. On the other hand, there are days when the best option is just to stay indoors under a cosy blanket.

And there really was a day like that, literally. At the beginning of June 2014 Western Germany, especially the areas around Düsseldorf and Köln, got hit by an outrageous storm. Earlier during the day the sky was clear, and the temperature was close to 30 degrees, so many people gathered to parks to enjoy some sun. And then, just suddenly without any kind of warning, the whole situation changed completely.

A storm with continuous lightning and wind speed as high as 150 km per hour (approximately 41,7 meters per second) had arrived. Unfortunately the storm also claimed six lives. Want to know what I did during the storm? I was flying above Düsseldorf at the time of the storm after a long weekend in Finland. I have to say it was probably the most interesting and terrifying flight of my life, which actually ended in Brussels instead of Düsseldorf.

Although the next day, when I was safely back in Düsseldorf, wandering along the streets and parks of the city, I felt mainly relieved about landing to Brussels despite the prolonged travel time. These pictures are taken on my way to work:

The streets of Düsseldorf, Germany after the deadly storm in June 2014


Also our office building had suffered some storm damage:


Our office building in Düsseldorf after the big storm in June 2014.

It’s absolutely impossible to describe with words what sort of chaos there was with the traffic during the next week or so. Luckily the streets were cleaned quite quickly, even though no one could have expected or been prepared for a storm this strong or damage this heavy. Even after two weeks running in any of the parks of Düsseldorf felt like steeplechase. Rheinpark, the huge park following the riverside of the Rhine, still looked like a war zone:

Trees fallen down during the storm in Rheinpark in Düsseldorf.
Storm damages in the parks of Düsseldorf two weeks after the storm in June 2014.
Storm damages along the streets and gardens in Düsseldorf in June 2014.

Thinking about the force of this storm and seeing all the damage afterwards, it’s quite amazing we were able to land safely in Brussels, even if we were right in the eye of the storm (or so it felt at least). Looking at these pictures makes you think; after all, we are quite tiny creatures in this world when compared to the forces of nature. Do you agree?

In memory of the people who lost their lives during the storm,

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This Post Has 5 Comments

  1. I think the positive is that it hit on a holiday. On a workday, there would have been way more victims. As it was, most people where at home or with friends.

    1. That’s very true. To be honest, I didn’t see the storm myself as I was flying at the time, but I saw the destruction it caused. And after that I was only happy that my plane didn’t land and that I’m alive. Hopefully it won’t happen again.

      1. Who knows….the climate is changing and that is the result. We didn’t have any storms even close to that in decades, and now two in less than ten years, and this one was even worse than Kyrill.

      2. Hopefully they would at least find a way to predict them and warn about it beforehand. If I understood correctly, no one really knew to expect this one! :/

      3. There was a warning (which was the reason why the Open Air in Colopgne was interrupted in time to get the people to safety), but there are warnings all the time and nobody expected it to start so fast and that it would be THAT bad.

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