The mighty whirlwind left a trail of destruction in the Czech border region with Austria and Slovakia. The images of the stricken site leave little to the imagination: stone buildings have been reduced to rubble, metal sheds torn to shreds and cars deposited a few meters away as if they were plastic bags picked up by a summer breeze.
Several towns and villages were in the affected area. The town of Hrusky, among others, was half destroyed, news services reported. There is a power outage in more than 100,000 homes. Emergency services and the army are trying to pull people out of the rubble, Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babis said. on Twitter to know, to know.
Scientists have not yet determined the exact severity of the tornado. “It was at least an F3, maybe even an F4,” explains meteorologist Pieter Groenemeijer, director of the European Severe Storms Laboratory (ESSL). “Colleagues will likely check with the Czech Meteorological Service as soon as the area is accessible again.”
The so-called F scale that scientists use ranges from 0 (for the weakest tornadoes) to 5 and is named after Japanese physicist and meteorologist Ted Fujita. Classification is then made on the basis of damage. As a result, the classification is somewhat arbitrary, said Groenemeijer rather against by Volkskrant, but a more precise scale is impossible. “After all, you can’t just stick an anemometer in the trunk of a tornado. ”
While images of such violent tornadoes are best known in the United States, these destructive whirlpools are not an exclusively American phenomenon. Between 2010 and 2020, 3,872 tornadoes occurred in Europe. Of these, 30 were in force F3 or higher.
From 2010 to 2020, 3827 #tornadoes occurred over land in and around #Europe. 329 of them were strong (F2 or more), 28 intense (F3 or more) and 2 violent (F4 or F5). The deadliest tornado since 1950 occurred in Ivanovo, Russia (June 9, 1984) with 69 deaths. pic.twitter.com/UHqGOsk3bi
– ESSL (@essl_ecss) June 24, 2021
Such severe tornadoes also occur in the Netherlands. Since meteorologists keep track of power, six or more F3s have been on the books. The latter occurred in 1967. Then an F3 tornado passed over the villages of Chaam and Tricht. It killed seven people.
Due to global warming, powerful thunderstorms will increasingly pass over Europe in the years to come, calculated Groenemeijer and his colleagues in 2019 in the trade magazine Climate and Atmospheric Science. The strongest tornadoes come from so-called supercell thunderstorms, which already spin a bit on their own and can therefore give a tornado its first push. If the number of such thunderstorms increases, it is evident that the number of severe European tornadoes will also increase in the years to come.
In America, due to the frequency of tornadoes, an early warning system has been set up in some parts of the country. Scattered throughout the region, radar systems can detect internally rotating thunderstorms before a tornado curls up beneath them. This system saves lives: with very heavy specimens, the alert sometimes arrives twenty minutes before the tornado hits the ground. Such a system does not exist in Europe. These types of severe tornadoes are too rare for that.