Monday, June 09, 2014

What the actual fuck!?!

That was kind of the reaction we had this evening when we came out of the restaurant following this month's book club. We went to Okinii, a Japanese restaurant not far from the main train station. Highly overrated, by the way - food was nice but service was pretty abysmal (especially given that you order everything yourself via an iPad at your table) and quite frankly the whole thing was more expensive that I would be bothered to pay again. At any rate, we were sat way down the back and it's quite loud and we were engrossed in conversation so it wasn't until I went to the front of the restaurant to go to the toilet that I saw it was absolutely lashing rain. And I saw lightening, too so when I got back to the table I duly told the girls that it was lashing rain and storming. None of us really reacted more than to wish we'd brought umbrellas and then we got back to our discussion.

Fast forward to about another hour later, just before eleven we left the restaurant and it was still spitting rain a bit. Got to the first cross street down the road, looked to the right and saw the fire brigade with lights flashing and blocking the road. Well, to be honest it wasn't them blocking the road, it was the two or three trees and large branches that were. Seemed unusual and interesting and then we continued on. I crossed to the tram stop and then noticed there were lots of very big branches across the lines at a few places. Since it seemed likely the trams weren't running as a result I turned around to walk up the road to the nearest underground station, figuring at least the underground would be running. But it turns out, not so much. I did get to the platform just as one tram was about to arrive, which was running to one stop before mine so I hopped on that and met one of the friends I had been with and separated from when I went off to get my tram. We both decided that since it seemed all the other trams, trains and buses weren't running, we'd get taxis. But when we got out of the underground we could see even more trees down, blocking most of the taxi rank, as was the portaloo that's there for the taxi drivers. And no taxis in sight but a longish queue waiting.

Walking it was. We set off together, as the first part of our route lay together and when we got to where I would normally have turned off the entire road was blocked with police stopping people from turning up there. Again, trees down and across the road. I asked them if the road along the river was clear and the answer was stay away from anywhere with trees (living in such a nice green city, that's pretty hard to do!) and it's all at my own risk. What a sad state of affairs the world is in when that's the first thing the police have to think of to say: at your own risk.

I kept walking along with my friend until we got to the river. Had to walk around a lot of large branches and trees blocking the way and passed one poor smashed car but luckily no injuries to be seen. There were lots of trees down all along the river, too. And glass smashed out of billboard type poster pillars with the posters also torn to shreds. My house, at least, seems to have escaped any damage but there are tiles on the pavement next door and further down the road, again, a few trees down. The big tree across from mine seems okay though. And look at this photo posted on twitter. Amazing.
This person must be just around the corner from me - I can also see this ERGO building from my window. There are more photos of that girl's twitter feed if you want to see the kind of thing I'm talking about. As well as lots of remarks on insurance companies getting what they deserve and irony. LOL
And this is at the side of the supermarket just down the road from me:
Amazing photos online of cloud formations, too, like this one from a nearby town:

All in all, I feel a bit like in a film when some mad action is taking part outside while the oblivious in the restaurant keep eating and drinking and come out at the end of the film when the hero has saved the world and is just sitting down to relax and they're wondering why things look different!


Amanda said...

Whoa! That sounds like a serious storm - glad to hear you and your house are fine! The lightning picture is pretty impressive though.

Fiona said...

The lightning picture is amazing. And the ones with all the trees down - it must be a very 'green' city to suffer so much damage. Did they say in tge news what happened? Sounds like a small tornado / cyclone. Must have been eerie walking home in that!

Moonwaves said...

The news is mostly just talking about the Unwetter (storm - literally un-weather, gotta love German sometimes). Some newspapers mentioned Orkan, which is a hurricane but it seems to be mostly in the sense of hurricane-like winds. I certainly couldn't find any mention of a storm or hurricane called "Ela", which one paper had. At any rate, there were winds up to 145kph (about 90mph) measured at the airport. There's a round-up of videos and tweets here: - the second video (about six minutes long) is from just a few minutes walk away from me. I brought my camera with me to work today and got some photos on the way. On the way home I walked along the river through the park. Really amazing sights. Huge trees just toppled over, ripped up at the roots. Will upload them soon and post a link. Dusseldorf is a very green town, really. It's one of the things I do like about it. The amount of damage done to trees alone is immense. And there are lots of damaged roofs as well. And, very sadly, six people died, too, three of them when a tree collapsed on the garden shed they had taken shelter in when the storm started.

Jennifer said...

Oh my! That was a horrible storm - 90 mph winds! I am surprised more people did not get hurt. SOOOO, glad you all made it ok.

Moonwaves said...

It's amazing how quickly they've gotten things moving again, though. Hats off to the very many people who have undoubtedly been working crazy hours this week. The trams and trains were stopped for most of the first day, with just underground stretches being covered. By the second day, I think they had most of the main routes in the town up and running at least partially. The sections that couldn't be used yet, due to damage to over head lines and so on, had buses running instead. By the second day, most of the paths had also been cleared enough so that walking was possible without having to go out into the road. And they had the main roads cleared so that traffic could flow again. There was about 300km worth of traffic jams on Tuesday morning. And that was even with most schools closed (extra long bank holiday weekend for a lot of schools here) and people having been warned to stay at home if at all possible. Very impressive really.

Anonymous said...

I'm glad your place was not damaged! I live in an area where wind storms are fairly common, and it is still scary and wondrous all at the same time.