Severe storms in Central Europe

Severe storms in Central Europe

18 May 2002 00:00 UTC

Severe storms in Central Europe
Severe storms in Central Europe

On 18 May, a short-wave trough approached Germany from the west. The associated cold front extended from the UK to Switzerland.

Last Updated

21 October 2020

Published on

18 May 2002

At the same time, a cut-off process took place over the Gulf of Lion leading to a separate surface low in the area west of Corsica. This led to an intensification of warm air advection towards the central and eastern parts of the Alps.

 

Meteosat-6 (visible channel), 18 May, 16:20 UTC
Animation (12:00–20:00 UTC)
 

In the afternoon, the warm air tongue over the Alps and Southern Germany was the location where severe convection took place. The first pre-frontal convective cells developed in the area of Lake Constance, merging quickly to form a Mesoscale Convective System (MCS). Later in the afternoon, this MCS, fed by inflowing warm air from the east, moved along the Northern slope of the Alps towards Munich where it arrived around 22:00 UTC in the evening.

 
Absolute Topography
Absolute Topography
Absolute topography 300 hPa
18 May, 12:00 UTC
Courtesy: Deutscher Wetterdienst
Full Resolution
Relative Topography
Relative Topography
Relative topography 500/1000 hPa
18 May, 12:00 UTC
Courtesy: Deutscher Wetterdienst
Full Resolution
 

The system led to severe thunderstorms over Bavaria with hail and torrential rain resulting in flooding and a landslide. Lightning was particularly spectacular and several fires were reported.

The Meteosat-6 rapid scan sequences below show the development of the convective cells during the afternoon of 18 May.

Meteosat-6 (infrared channel), 18 May, 12:00 UTC
Meteosat-6 (infrared channel), 18 May, 12:00 UTC
Animation (12:00–20:00 UTC)
Meteosat-6 (water vapour channel), 18 May, 12:00 UTC
Meteosat-6 (water vapour channel), 18 May, 12:00 UTC
Animation (12:00–20:00 UTC)