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Tornadoes threat to Britain, Germany, and Italy

Staff Writer |
Tornadoes are an underestimated threat across Europe, the first ever report of its kind revealed.

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Experts say as the tornado season fast approaches, Britain, Germany, and northern Italy are at the greatest risk.

New research into the threats has been carried out by meteorologists at the University of Manchester's Center for Atmospheric Science in its School of Earth and Environmental Sciences and the European Severe Storms Laboratory in Germany.

Their research, which is being published in the journal Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, is the first ever threat calculation of tornadoes across the European continent.

The research team analyzed tornado reports from the European Severe Weather Database between 1950 and 2015, looking at the social and economic impact of tornadoes on the continent.

From the 66 years of meteorological, atmospheric and weather related data analyzed they found that tornadoes in Europe have caused damage costing around $1 billion, over 300 deaths, and over 4,400 injuries.

Between 1950 and 2015, almost 5,500 tornadoes were reported in 42 European countries. The tornado season for Europe is from May to August, with its peak in July.

Such is the scale of the problem, and with European tornado season just weeks away, the team says they want to raise awareness of the issue

David Schultz, Professor of Synoptic Meteorology from the University of Manchester, said: "The research summarizes all our current understanding of the tornado threat to Europe by showing the changes in tornado injuries and fatalities since the 1950s.

It also, for the first time, estimates the damages associated with European tornadoes. No other study has systematically analysed the damages associated with tornadoes in Europe."

Dr. Bogdan Antonescu, from Center for Atmospheric Science, led the research.

He said: "Currently the threat of tornadoes in Europe is not widely recognized. Few European meteorological services have developed and maintained tornado databases and even fewer have issued tornado warnings.

"We are raising awareness of the threat of European tornadoes, which is perhaps unappreciated by the public, emergency responders, and governments across the continent.

"Despite what is often assumed by the general public and even by meteorologists and researchers, tornadoes do occur in Europe and they have caused thousands of injuries, hundreds of death and huge amounts of damage."

Although the tornado threat seems to be less in Europe compared with the United States, the research says the true magnitude is unknown due to a huge lack of data collection.

"This is due to decades of neglect in monitoring tornadoes by official government and European agencies," says the report.

They add there was once a time when tornado research in Europe was more active than in the U.S.

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