Due to heavy rainfalls over Frankfurt, dozens of flights were canceled at Germany’s largest airport on Wednesday.
By late evening, large amounts of water had collected in areas of the runway, leaving passengers stuck on planes that had landed, but unable to disembark.
A video from the airport circulated on social media, showing planes parked in significant standing water, while lightning flashed in the background.
For more than two hours, ground handling was brought to a standstill, an airport spokesman confirmed.
Flight diversions and cancellations
In terms of take-offs and landings, Frankfurt Airport shuts down at 11 p.m. local time (2100 UTC) but under exceptional circumstances such as Wednesday’s, this can be extended to midnight to ease delays, cancellations and congestion the following day.
More than 23 planned arrivals were diverted away from Frankfurt, mid-air, due to the night flight ban and the flooded situation on the ground.
According to initial estimates by Frankfurt Airport, well over a thousand passengers were affected.
Weather service issues warning for Hesse
The German Weather Service (DWD) had issued a warning for the whole of the state of Hesse with heavy thunderstorms predicted for Wednesday evening.
Rain, gale-force winds and lightning that accompanied the severe thunderstorms caused numerous fire department deployments in the central German state of Hesse, where the airport is located.
Between 8 p.m. and 11 p.m. local time, the the weather office had reported rainfall amounts of up to 60 liters per square meter in some parts of the region.
Meteorologists recorded more than 25,000 lightning strikes in a one hour period, local public broadcaster Hessische Rundfunk reported.
Gale-force winds of 81 kilometers per hour (60 mph) occurred in Griesheim, and 71 kilometers per hour were reached in Offenbach.
jsi/rs (dpa, DW sources)