Monday, August 04, 2008

Tornado in ..... France?

I have lived in France all my life and have never heard of a real tornado there, yet yesterday :

A freak tornado ripped through northern France overnight, killing three people and injuring nine as it gutted houses and hurled cars through the air, officials said Monday. (AFP)

As you can see on the pictures, it hit that place pretty hard.

Yet, it was not as vast and wide as tornados in North America, hence the name "mini-tornado". They are still dangerous because according to this weather expert (in French), they can be spotted before they arrive because they are too local and small in scope, and so people cannot be warned and take shelter. In fact, the mini-tordanoes can only be seen on radars after they have hit the ground.

So what is going on?

Well, it seems that tornadoes are more common in Europe than I ever thought, although most of them seem so local that they don't even make the headlines.

It seems, that outside North America,
it is the Netherlands that has the highest average number of recorded tornadoes per area of any country (more than 20, or 0.0013 per sq mi (0.00048 per km²), annually), followed by the UK (around 33, or 0.00035 per sq mi (0.00013 per km²), per year but most are small and cause minor damage.

In absolute number of events, ignoring area, the UK experiences more tornadoes than any other European country, excluding waterspouts.
The United States has the most tornadoes of any country, about four times more than estimated in all of Europe, not including waterspouts. (Wiki)
What is unusual about this one in France is precisely that it caused so much damage and killed people. That I had not heard of before.
Here's a very telling map of "areas worldwide where tornadoes are most likely, indicated by orange shading." (National Climatic Data, Asheville, North Carolina)


At 13:51, Blogger On en parle said...

Some people can’t correctly behave and go over there to have a look and take pictures without offering some help…
214 tornados were registered in France between 1680 and 2008. Tornados particularly happen in summer time, mainly crossing from the south-west to the north, near the Belgium border.
The most risky places are La Rochelle, Tours, Montpellier, Lille, Le Mans and Paris districts.

You alos can read me in French on "Citoyens d'Europe" : and "On en parle" :


Post a Comment

<< Home