In pictures: Storms batter Germany

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Violent storms have swept across western Germany, leaving a trail of destruction and several people dead.

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Strong winds and heavy rain pounded the state of North-Rhine Westphalia after days of scorching temperatures. Thousands of trees were uprooted, like here in Gelsenkirchen.

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A cyclist in Cologne was killed by a falling tree that police said was probably struck by lightning. This bolt of lightning struck in Sieversdorf.

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In Neuss, near Duesseldorf, many cars were damaged by falling trees.

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Roofs were ripped from buildings and public transport has been badly hit. Some flights also had to be diverted.

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In the city of Duesseldorf, roads were blocked by fallen trees and there was damage to overhead power lines. Forecasters have issued weather warnings for regions to the north-east, including Hanover and Bremen.

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