A massive tornado tore up the countryside in Schwalmtal, Germany, on May 16. (Asterios Kafetzis)

A massive tornado tore up the countryside in the district of Viersen, Germany, on Wednesday evening. Incredible videos show the storm barreling through fields and crossing roads.

Several videos show remarkably close encounters with the tornado, including one where the twister overtakes two vehicles.

Europe’s severe weather season is a lot like that in the United States, peaking in the spring. Wednesday’s tornado formed in a very warm, humid air mass ahead of an approaching cold front.

A 23-year-old man was seriously injured due to falling branches, according to DerWesten, and another suffered minor injuries. A firefighter was electrocuted and was left with minor wounds. Around 40 to 50 homes were damaged during the storm, according to several German news outlets.

A massive tornado struck Viersen, Germany, on May 17. Social media video showed the tornado touching down. (@BWiesel92/Twitter)

At least six tornadoes have been observed in Germany so far this year, according to meteorologist Thomas Savert on kachelmannwetter.com. Savert says in an average year, Germany will get 30 to 60 tornadoes — which pales in comparison with the hundreds of tornadoes that form every year in the U.S.

Germany’s tornado season runs from May to September.


In this May 16 photo, a tornado moves over the lower Rhine area near Schwalmtal, western Germany, leaving a trail of destruction. (Ralf Nowak/DPA via AP)

A caravan sits in a garden after a tornado last night hit the area of Boisheim, west of Düsseldorf, Germany, May 17. (Thilo Schmuelgen/Reuters)

A worker climbs on a damaged tree after a tornado last night hit the area of Boisheim, west of Düsseldorf, Germany. (Thilo Schmuelgen/Reuters)