What's the Worst That Could Happen? Re-examining the 24–25 June 1967 Tornado Outbreak Over Western Europe

Bogdan Antonescu, David Schultz, Jonathan Fairman

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    On 24–25 June 1967 one of the most intense European tornado outbreaks produced extensive damage (approximately 960 houses damaged or destroyed) and resulted in 232 injuries and 15 fatalities in France, Belgium, and the Netherlands. The 24–25 June 1967 tornado outbreak shows that Europe is highly vulnerable to tornadoes. To better understand the impact of European tornadoes and how this impact changed over time, the question is raised, “What would happen if an outbreak similar to the 1967 one occurred 50 years later in 2017 over France, Belgium, and the Netherlands?” Transposing the seven tornado tracks from the June 1967 outbreak over the modern landscape would potentially result in 24 990 buildings being impacted, 255–2 580 injuries, and 17–172 fatalities. To determine possible worst-case scenarios, the tornado tracks are moved in a systematic way around their observed positions and positioned over modern maps of buildings and population. The worst-case scenario estimates are 146 222 buildings impacted, 2 550–25 440 injuries, and 170–1 696 fatalities. These results indicate that the current disaster management policies and mitigation strategies for Europe need to include tornadoes, especially because exposure and tornado risk is anticipated to increase in the near future
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalBulletin of the American Meteorological Society
    Early online date23 Mar 2018
    Publication statusPublished - Apr 2018


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