A powerful storm swept across eastern Austria on Saturday night, causing significant damage and temporary closures of popular sites. The Jubilee Observatory reported wind peaks of around 111 km/h, while the Kammerspiele theater in Linz had its roof destroyed, and a young woman’s car in Salzburg was hit by a falling tree.
The fire brigade was increasingly deployed throughout Vienna, Lower and Upper Austria to repair the damage caused by the storm. The Schönbrunn Zoo and the palace gardens were temporarily closed for security reasons in the federal capital. Geosphere Austria had issued an orange storm warning for Saturday, with the weather service expecting the storm to subside later in the day.
The professional fire brigade in Vienna reported 50 operations due to the storm, including fallen trees, scaffolding, and loose roof tiles and windows. Lukas Schauer, the spokesman for the fire brigade, stated that they are continuously monitoring the situation and are prepared to increase their team if necessary. ORF meteorologist Manuel Oberhuber reported gusts of around 86 km/h in downtown Vienna in the morning, with Geosphere warning of gusts of over 100 kilometers per hour during the day.
Lower Austria’s fire brigades received approximately 100 alerts for storm damage by early morning, with the majority of calls relating to fallen trees, billboards, and removed roof tiles. Franz Resperger, a spokesman for the fire brigade, expected several more storm-related operations until the early afternoon, after which the wind should calm down as per the weather forecast. Geosphere reported peak winds of around 151 kilometers per hour on the Buchberg.
Upper Austria reported around 60 operations related to the storm, most of which were triggered by downed trees, but there were no injuries. In St. Pankraz, the emergency services were called to evacuate a train after the wind damaged the overhead line. A rail replacement service was set up for the 35 passengers.
In the state capital, the Kammerspiele theater had its roof largely destroyed, with Thomas Königstorfer, the commercial director of the state theater, saying that “the tin roof of the stage tower was crumpled up like tin foil.” Fortunately, debris from the roof did not fall, and no one was injured during this incident. No performances were scheduled for Saturday, but it remains to be seen whether the storm damage will affect upcoming shows.
In Berndorf near Salzburg, a 23-year-old car driver was hit by a falling tree during the night and was trapped in her car. The fire brigade had to cut the woman from the wreckage, and she was taken to the UKH Salzburg for treatment, according to the police.
As the storm subsided later in the day, the extent of the damage caused by the storm became clear, with the fire brigade continuing to repair the damage caused by the wind. The temporary closures of popular sites and the damage caused by the storm serve as a reminder of the power and unpredictability of nature, and the importance of remaining vigilant during extreme weather conditions.