Strength was unpredictable, warning time short

Fire brigade deployments and record rain have already been reported in the afternoon in Vorarlberg – more information at vorarlberg.ORF.at. But as the new extreme weather threatens, the shock from Thursday’s storm is still profound. Several experts from the Central Institute of Meteorology and Geodynamics (ZAMG) said on Friday that their strength was hardly predictable. According to ZAMG, the storm line developed very rapidly and more violently than predicted by the forecast models and also had a slightly more eastern focus.

The storm was unpredictable in Carinthia. As Christian Stefan, head of the ZAMG in Klagenfurt, said in an interview with the APA, such a meteorological phenomenon is extremely rare there: in a few minutes there was a shift from a light wind to just over 100 km / h. In the Carinthian Lavant Valley, for example, the storm raged for only ten minutes. It is possible that the strength of the hurricane was also achieved in places without measuring points.

A fallen electrical pole in Weißkirchen in Styria

APA / Markus Angerer


The electricity pole in Styria has been knocked down

Thunderstorm warning was given, an exact forecast or the specific storm pattern was therefore not recorded well. To some extent, thunderstorms are unpredictable, says Stefan. The fact that the potential for severe thunderstorms existed was already relatively well estimated: “But it is difficult to estimate where they will then rise and fall.” – More information on kaernten.ORF.at.

20 minutes notice

According to the Styrian civil protection, there was only about 20 minutes’ notice, too little to warn the population by radio, chief Harald Eitner told the “Kleine Zeitung”. The state alert center itself was surprised by the intensity of the storm because it could hardly have been predicted.

Storm damage in the Kapfenberg-Diemlach area

APA / FF Kapfenberg-Diemlach


A roof construction in the Kapfenberg area was blown away

According to ZAMG experts, the storm front pushed hot air in front of it. The storm itself was harmless, but the storm was even stronger. However, the models did not foresee this. “You can’t see the wind on the satellite image,” Eitner says.

Christa Kummer on the storm

Christa Kummer of the ORF Meteorological Department explains how the weather can change so quickly.

Five dead

The storm claimed five lives and several people were seriously injured. Two children died in Carinthia’s Lavanttal. In Gaming, Lower Austria, three women aged 52, 57 and 58 were killed when a tree fell.

Umbrella destroyed in Andräer See

APA / Erwin Scheriau


The storm raged in St. Andräer See and felled the trees

The two boys – two girls aged three and eight – died in the recreation facility at the St. Andräer bathing lake in Lavanttal. At least 16 people were seriously injured there by falling trees, broken branches and flying objects. The crisis response team was in action – more information at kaernten.ORF.at.

Shock and damage after the storm

The day after the severe thunderstorms with five deaths in Carinthia and Lower Austria, things are sorting themselves out. In western Austria, forecasters expect heavy rains, landslides and floods.

The storm lasted perhaps ten minutes at around 3:30 pm and the blast that cut down the trees only took seconds. According to the rescue service in the water, such an elementary event has never occurred in the area: the lifeguards who wanted to warn the swimmers of the sudden storm were swept away and waves 50 centimeters high were recorded. Trees have fallen on visitors to the bathroom. The area could not be cleared at that time. The area was cordoned off by the Public Prosecutor’s Office. An expert has taken the job, he should check, among other things, whether the trees have been cut correctly.

Bent tree in St. Andräer See in Carinthia

APA / Georg Bachhiesl


The storm lasted no more than ten minutes

Meanwhile, the following day the damage to buildings and agriculture was also evident. The shock is profound, we will talk more about it in kaernten.ORF.at. On Friday, the hail insurance company reported a total damage of two million euros to agriculture in southern Austria. It is much more at the Wiener Städtische. This provides for “several thousand damages for an amount of five million euros”.

Three dead in Lower Austria

According to police, the Gaming incident in Lower Austria with three dead women took place in the Zellerrainstrasse area. The women were part of a hiking party of five caught in extreme conditions of hail and thunderstorms. They were hit by a falling tree after being struck by lightning. The police, rescue teams and emergency helicopters have moved – more information at noe.ORF.at.

Firefighters at a fallen tree

APA / Einsatzdoku.at


Firefighters during an operation in the Neunkirchen area in Lower Austria

As it became known on Friday evening, a 13-year-old Austrian girl died in a thunderstorm on the island of Corsica. Severe storms also occurred on Thursday, killing five people. The 13-year-old was reportedly killed on a campsite when a tree fell on a bungalow.

Image of the devastation in Styria

The storm front also left a picture of devastation in many regions of Styria. Most counties reported damage, some severe, from falling trees on roads, buildings and vehicles. Numerous roofs of houses were covered. In the Gösting district of Graz, a tree crashed into the windshield of a moving car. The three occupants remained unharmed. The same applies to the occupants of a bus in St. Peter Hauptstrasse, on which parts of a roof had fallen.

extreme weather

Although individual extreme events cannot be traced directly to a specific cause, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change it is clear that extreme weather events such as floods, storms and heat are becoming more frequent and more intense due to the climate crisis. This means: rainfall and storms are getting heavier, heat waves are getting hotter, and drought is getting drier.

Several hikers had to be rescued from the Styrian mountains – as helicopter rescue was not possible, the mountain rescue team came on foot. On Thursday in Gaal, in the Styrian district of Murtal, about 60 people, including small children, had to be taken out of the danger zones, some by helicopters. Access to Ingersee was blocked after the storm. No one was injured, more information on steiermark.ORF.at.

Meanwhile, some 85,000 Styrian households were without electricity, and repairs to the electricity grid sometimes take weeks. Damage of this magnitude is rare and has not occurred at all in Styria in the last 15 years, confirm Energie Steiermark and the fire brigade – more information at steiermark.ORF.at.

MotoGP and frequency involved

The storm also hit the MotoGP series in Spielberg. Numerous tents may have been destroyed or even blown away by gusts of wind. The campers got away with a “black eye,” said fire department operations manager Erwin Grangl.

The FM4 Festival in St. Pölten was also stopped due to a storm alarm and the site was evacuated. Nobody was hurt, we’ll talk more about it in noe.ORF.at. The festival then resumed operations.

Dark clouds over the site of the Frequency Festival in St. Pölten

APA / Florian Wieser


The FM4 Frequency Festival site had to be canceled

ÖBB: Some routes further blocked

The ÖBB announced in the evening that all available employees should repair the damage caused by the storms in Carinthia and Styria as quickly as possible, so that scheduled train services can be resumed on Saturday when operations resume. Long-distance trains (Nightjets) from Vienna – Venice or Graz – Zurich may be operational again as scheduled from Friday. Local transport in Styria will resume operation on Saturday, in Carinthia it was already operational on Friday. The disabilities were originally said to last until Monday – more on wien.ORF.at.

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