Tornadoes are undoubtedly some of the most fascinating natural weather phenomena that this planet has to offer.
Although deadly and incredibly dangerous, if you’re outside of the United States then you’ve likely never witnessed one, but why is that?
Well, the United States is a tornado hotspot, it has all of the right ingredients for a tornado to spawn between the spring and summer months of April to June.
But what about outside of the United States? Do tornadoes happen in Europe?
In this post, we’re going to find out about tornadoes in Europe and specifically answer that question. In a nutshell, yes they do, and they actually have more than you might expect.
Let’s take a closer look…
Do Tornadoes Actually Happen In Europe?
Yes, Europe does have tornadoes, although not as many as the US.
The United States might be the place in the world with the most tornadoes each year, but that doesn’t make other countries exempt.
In 2020 the US had 1075 tornadoes, whilst in 2021 they had 1376 according to preliminary data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association (NOAA).
The United Kingdom, Netherlands, Germany, and many more countries have tornadoes every year, in fact, Europe has an average of 300 tornadoes each year.
“These last years, we see an increase in the number of tornadoes being reported in Europe.“According to Dr. Pieter Groenemeijer, Director of the European Severe Storms Laboratory (ESSL)
Even though tornadoes are less frequent in Europe, they do have a lot of severe weather events such as storms that can be devastating.
For example, the Kryll storm in 2008 caused a huge amount of damage and loss of life in Germany and the UK.
Which Country In Europe Has The Most Tornadoes?
The United Kingdom sees the most tornadoes per year out of all countries in Europe (not including Russia), with around 30 tornadoes each and every year.
The UK actually comes third for the most tornadoes in the world, after the United States and Canada.
Although large tornadoes in the UK are rare, they do happen from time to time.
A tornado in July 2005 hit the southern suburbs of Birmingham and caused £40 million worth of damage as well as injuring 19 people and ripping out more than 1000 trees.
One of the longest tracks recorded of a tornado in the UK was one that carved a path 70 miles (110km) long through Buckinghamshire, Bedfordshire, and Cambridgeshire on May 21, 1950.
Linsdale, Beds saw 50 houses lose their roofs, a bakery destroyed and outbuildings lifted and found 100m away from their foundations.
It may come as a surprise to those that live in the UK, but there are some very powerful tornadoes that have hit the UK over the years, and they’re still tornadoes spawning there every year.
Are The Tornadoes In Europe Strong?
Some 30 tornadoes that hit the UK each year are generally weak and short-lived. Usually not strong enough to cause a lot of damage and typically only lasts for a few minutes.
However, the same cannot be said for all of Europe, as countries such as France, Germany, and Poland are similar to the American “Tornado Alley”, only in Europe.
In summer, all of these areas typically experience strong tornadoes every year, much stronger than the tornadoes seen in the UK.
The Mediterranean sea often sees waterspouts in the autumn and early winter, when the sea is still warm but cold polar air moving south over it creates deep convection ideal for them to occur.
Where Do Most Tornadoes Happen In The World?
The country with the most tornadoes worldwide is the United States.
Every year the US is hit by an average of 1200 tornadoes, with many being powerful and destructive causing millions of dollars worth of damage.
Central USA is a dry area that in the summer months offers the perfect environment for large tornadoes to spawn.
This area is known as “Tornado Alley” and although not a defined area it covered 10 states and is a strip of land that sees the most tornado activity on the globe.
The area covers states such as Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, South Dakota, Nebraska, and more.
The tornadoes that happen in Tornado Alley can be large, violent, and deadly. In 2020, tornadoes in the US caused a total of approximately 2.53 billion dollars.
Do tornadoes happen in Europe? Absolutely, every year.
The UK is the third in the list of countries that see the most tornadoes every year, and although they are often weak and not destructive, they do happen.
There are many examples of the UK seeing larger and more destructive tornadoes, like the example given above for the tornado that hit Birmingham in 2005.
Other European countries such as France, Germany, and Poland also experience tornadoes every year, although they are typically much stronger than the ones seen in the UK.
These three countries are similar to Tornado Alley in the US, as they appear to be a hotspot where tornadoes can spawn due to the perfect conditions usually in the summer months.
Hopefully, this post has been helpful and you’ve learned something new about tornadoes in Europe.
Thanks for taking the time to read this post and feel free to stick around to learn more about tornadoes and other extreme weather events.
Hey, I’m Sam – the founder of GustyPlanet. I’ve had a fascination with all things weather for as long as I can remember. I witnessed my first tornado at the age of 6, and since then became an avid storm chaser that is hooked on learning as much as I can about extreme weather. This blog was created to share my knowledge and to expand and delve deeper into the wonderful world of weather phenomena. I hope you enjoy your stay here and thanks for visiting.