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A Climatology of Tornadoes in Europe: Results from the European Severe Weather Database

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Abstract

A climatology of tornadoes (over land and water) is presented, based on the European Severe Weather Database (ESWD), which contains reports of 9529 tornadoes. With the exception of a few small countries, tornadoes have been reported from all regions of Europe. The highest density of tornado reports is in western and central Europe. ESWD tornado reports increased strongly from 1995 to 2006 as a result of increased data collection efforts, followed by a decrease that likely has a meteorological nature. There is strong underreporting in the Mediterranean region and eastern Europe. The daily cycle of tornadoes over land (sea) peaks between 1500 and 1600 (0900 and 1000) local time. The Mediterranean annual maximum is in autumn and winter, while regions farther north have a maximum in summer. In total, 822 tornado fatalities have been recorded in the ESWD, which include 10 tornadoes with more than 20 fatalities. The average annual number of tornado fatalities in Europe is estimated to be between 10 and 15. The F2 and F3 tornadoes are responsible for the majority of the fatalities.

Corresponding author address: Pieter Groenemeijer, European Severe Storms Laboratory, Münchner Strasse 20, 82234 Wessling, Germany. E-mail: pieter.groenemeijer@essl.org

Abstract

A climatology of tornadoes (over land and water) is presented, based on the European Severe Weather Database (ESWD), which contains reports of 9529 tornadoes. With the exception of a few small countries, tornadoes have been reported from all regions of Europe. The highest density of tornado reports is in western and central Europe. ESWD tornado reports increased strongly from 1995 to 2006 as a result of increased data collection efforts, followed by a decrease that likely has a meteorological nature. There is strong underreporting in the Mediterranean region and eastern Europe. The daily cycle of tornadoes over land (sea) peaks between 1500 and 1600 (0900 and 1000) local time. The Mediterranean annual maximum is in autumn and winter, while regions farther north have a maximum in summer. In total, 822 tornado fatalities have been recorded in the ESWD, which include 10 tornadoes with more than 20 fatalities. The average annual number of tornado fatalities in Europe is estimated to be between 10 and 15. The F2 and F3 tornadoes are responsible for the majority of the fatalities.

Corresponding author address: Pieter Groenemeijer, European Severe Storms Laboratory, Münchner Strasse 20, 82234 Wessling, Germany. E-mail: pieter.groenemeijer@essl.org
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