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Extreme weather in Kiel – why had nobody warned about the tornado?

And suddenly it was there: the mighty tornado in Kiel made its way at breakneck speed. Fortunately, there were only seven injured. But is it not possible to warn against such extreme weather?

Climatologist Dr. Karsten Brandt said to BILD on TV: “Tornadoes are very, very dangerous weather phenomena, but difficult to predict and warn about.”

And graduate meteorologist Dominik Jung from the weather service Q.met adds to BILD: “If someone isn’t looking closely at all the thunderstorm cells, then you don’t necessarily see that either. A tornado warning time is, in the best case, a few minutes in advance. “

What is it that makes it so difficult?

Weather expert Jung on BILD: “The exact occurrence of a thunderstorm is difficult to predict. I can say: tomorrow there will be a thunderstorm in Berlin and Brandenburg. But then I still don’t know exactly where the thunderstorm will trigger. On the day itself you will see the cell over North Berlin and one near Potsdam at some point. “

And within such heavy showers and thunderstorms, if there is potential for wind shear, there is potential for a tornado.

Weather expert Jung: “But it’s just potential. There doesn’t have to be a tornado! You can see how difficult it is: You cannot predict the thunderstorm or the shower exactly a day in advance. Then a tornado that occurs within thunderstorms and showers, much less so. “

According to the German Weather Service (DWD), the tornado in Kiel on Wednesday evening could have caused much greater damage if it had developed differently.

According to the authorities, the tornado hit the Kiellinie, a popular promenade on the bank, at around 6 p.m. on Wednesday. According to the fire department, four people were seriously injured in the event. Three had also suffered moderate injuries, several people were slightly injured.

If he had moved through the city center, roof tiles would have been able to fly through the area like projectiles, said DWD tornado expert Andreas Friedrich. “In terms of strength, however, according to initial evaluations, it was a rather weaker tornado.”

Friedrich estimated the speed of rotation of the tornado at 118 to 180 kilometers per hour. On the ground, however, he only moved at a speed of 10 to 20. According to evaluations, the trail of the damage caused by the tornado that formed in the south of the city is about seven kilometers long. Most of the time he moved over poorly built-up areas.

A so-called multivortex tornado formed briefly over the fjord, said Friedrich. Two neighboring tornadoes were observed on the ground. “On land, however, the tornado dissolved relatively quickly.”

In the event of a tornado, wind shear occurs in advance within the shower or thundercloud. This means that the wind changes its speed and direction with the height within the thundercloud.

Weather expert Jung: “A rotation can then begin. A funnel cloud forms. If this funnel reaches the ground, one speaks of a tornado. The funnel must reach the ground. Only then is it a tornado by definition. That was the case in Kiel. “

Sometimes tornadoes are confused with downbursts. A downburst is a falling squall. The wind simply falls straight down from the thundercloud and causes damage.

Weather expert Jung: “The difference between a downburst and a tornado can be determined by looking at the damage. In a tornado, all objects are criss-crossed in the area. In a downburst, for example, kinked trees are all arranged in one direction. “

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