Year: 2009 | Grade: 3
Many people vividly remember 18 January 2007. The weather service issued alerts of an impending ‘storm of the century’. A low-pressure front coming from Newfoundland had turned into a formidable hurricane. The worst storms in decades were expected to reach landfall early that aftemoon. Schools everywhere closed early and the emergency services were put on high alert. Despite this, the events which followed exceeded worst-case expectations; deaths, injuries, and rampant destruction throughout Europe. The devastation was especially bad in the Sauerland (central-eastern Germany). Scores of people returned home to find rubble where their homes had once stood. The forests were also hit hard. Decades of effort by forestry workers had been obliterated in mere hours. Massive trees were snapped like toothpicks.
Kyrill was felt all over Europe, but few places saw as much devastation as the Schmallenberger Land in the Sauerland. Composer Otto M. Schwarz was in Austria at the time and experienced Kyrill first hand, but he did not become aware of the full extend of this hurricane until he participated in a workshop hosted by the Volksmusikerbund NRW (folk music association) in Bad Fredeburg. Ernst Willi Schulte, the association’s musical director, showed him what Kyrill had done to the Schmallenberger countryside. ‘We did have a storm,’ said Schwarz ‘but it wasn’t anywhere close to the devastation seen here.’