Magazine article Geographical

Twist and Shout: A Lack of Awareness Is Preventing Adequate Monitoring of Destructive Tornado Events in Europe

Magazine article Geographical

Twist and Shout: A Lack of Awareness Is Preventing Adequate Monitoring of Destructive Tornado Events in Europe

Article excerpt

With dramatic-sounding names such as Tornado Alley", it would be easy to believe tornadoes are mainly a North American phenomenon Although the average number of tornadoes reported annually between 1950 and 2015 was 11 times greater in America than in Europe, there were still 5,478 tornadoes reported across 42 European countries during that time period According to data from the European Severe Weather Database (ESWD), these resulted either directly or indirectly in 316 fatalities, 4,462 injuries, and estimated damages in excess of 1billion [euro].

Despite this, and possibly due to a reduced threat perception European countries have far less developed monitoring and early warning infrastructures in place than those in the US. Dr Bogdan Antonescu, from the Centre for Atmospheric Science at the University of Manchester, recently led a study into the low awareness of tornadoes in Europe, and observes that the majority of Europe's recent reports follow the chain of urbanisation that stretches from Manchester to Milan via London

Brussels and Frankfurt "With a high population density there is an increased probability that someone will observe and report the tornado,' he points out It is possible that such hotspots could also be identified over eastern Europe. …

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