Tornadoes in Europe: An underestimated threat

Bogdan Antonescu, David Schultz, Alois Holzer, Pieter Groenemeijer

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    The social and economical 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 paper 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.
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalBulletin of the American Meteorological Society
    Early online date24 Apr 2017
    Publication statusPublished - 2017


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