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Tornadoes in Europe: An Underestimated Threat

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  • 1 Centre for Atmospheric Science, School of Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of Manchester, Manchester, United Kingdom
  • | 2 European Severe Storms Laboratory, Wessling, Germany
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Abstract

The social and economic impact of tornadoes in Europe is analyzed using tornado reports from the European Severe Weather Database between 1950 and 2015. Despite what is often assumed by the general public and even by meteorologists and researchers, tornadoes do occur in Europe and they are associated with injuries, fatalities, and damages, although their reported frequencies and intensities are lower compared with the United States. Currently, the threat of tornadoes to Europe is underestimated. Few European meteorological services have developed and maintained tornado databases and even fewer have issued tornado warnings. This article summarizes our current understanding of the tornado threat to Europe by showing the changes in tornado injuries and fatalities since the 1950s and by estimating for the first time the damages associated with European tornadoes. To increase awareness of tornadoes and their threat to Europe, we propose a strategy that includes 1) collaboration between meteorological services, researchers, and the general public toward a pan-European database; 2) development of national forecasting and warning systems and of pan-European convective outlooks; and 3) development by decision-makers and emergency managers of policies and strategies that include tornadoes.

This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).

© 2017 American Meteorological Society.

CORRESPONDING AUTHOR E-MAIL: Bogdan Antonescu, bogdan.antonescu@manchester.ac.uk

Abstract

The social and economic impact of tornadoes in Europe is analyzed using tornado reports from the European Severe Weather Database between 1950 and 2015. Despite what is often assumed by the general public and even by meteorologists and researchers, tornadoes do occur in Europe and they are associated with injuries, fatalities, and damages, although their reported frequencies and intensities are lower compared with the United States. Currently, the threat of tornadoes to Europe is underestimated. Few European meteorological services have developed and maintained tornado databases and even fewer have issued tornado warnings. This article summarizes our current understanding of the tornado threat to Europe by showing the changes in tornado injuries and fatalities since the 1950s and by estimating for the first time the damages associated with European tornadoes. To increase awareness of tornadoes and their threat to Europe, we propose a strategy that includes 1) collaboration between meteorological services, researchers, and the general public toward a pan-European database; 2) development of national forecasting and warning systems and of pan-European convective outlooks; and 3) development by decision-makers and emergency managers of policies and strategies that include tornadoes.

This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).

© 2017 American Meteorological Society.

CORRESPONDING AUTHOR E-MAIL: Bogdan Antonescu, bogdan.antonescu@manchester.ac.uk
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