Tornadic storms over Hungary

Tornadic storms over Hungary

20 May 2008 00:00 UTC

Tornadic storms over Hungary
Tornadic storms over Hungary

Tornadic storms over Hungary in May 2008.

Last Updated

26 May 2022

Published on

20 May 2008

By Maria Putsay, Ildikó Szenyán (Hungarian Meteorological Service) and Jochen Kerkmann (EUMETSAT)

On 20 May a severe convective storm developed over Hungary causing heavy precipitation, strong winds and hail (2–5cm). Tornado, funnel clouds were reported. Flash floods occurred in some places. A fishing lake damn broke causing additional floods in the surrounding area. The storm system developed rapidly and by late afternoon it had spread to Romania, also causing hail, flash floods and damage in several places.

The Hungarian Meteorological Service gave the highest level of alarm the day before, forecasting the possibility of tornados. MeteoAlarm (Alerting Europe for Extreme Weather) and Estofex (European Storm Forecast Experiment) also issued severe warnings for Hungary (see MeteoAlarm warning, and Estofex storm forecast).

The top image below shows the enhanced Meteosat-9 IR10.8 image of 11:45 UTC. Brightness temperatures below 240K are shown in colours, while values above 240K are shown in black. The image shows prominent examples of so-called 'cold-ring shaped storms' over Hungary and Serbia.

As discussed in the paper from Setvak et al. (2008), long-lived cold-ring shaped storms should receive special attention from forecasters given their high chance of producing severe weather. In this case, the cold-ring storm over Hungary had a lifetime of about two hours.

It should be noted that the cold-ring indicator is only one of many possible satellite indicators for severe weather: if many of them come together then the likelihood of severe weather increases. In this case, at least 11 indicators for severe weather can be listed:

  1. Cold-ring shape (enhanced IR10.8 image)
  2. Unstable environment (GIF product)
  3. Explosive growth (IR10.8 and HRV image)
  4. Cold cloud tops (IR10.8 image)
  5. Strong overshooting of the tops of convective cells (HRV image and WV6.2–IR10.8 difference)
  6. Long-living storm system (more than 10 hours, HRV and IR10.8 image)
  7. Right-moving storm (HRV and IR10.8 image)
  8. Above-anvil plume (HRV image)
  9. Small ice particles (Convection RGB product, IR3.9r effective radius (Reff) product)
  10. Retrieved vertical profiles of cloud particle effective radius and thermodynamic phase (T-Reff plots, see second image below)
  11. Low-level inflow jet (HRV images)

A more detailed discussion of this case and of the indicators listed above can be found in the paper from Putsay et al. (2008) and the poster from Schipper et al. (2008).

Tornadic storms over Hungary
Figure 1: Meteosat-9 IR10.8, colour enhanced, 20 May, 11:45 UTC. Large Area
Tornadic storms over Hungary
Figure 2: Meteosat-9 Day Microphysics RGB with T-Reff Scatterplot, 20 May, 11:45 UTC. See paper from Rosenfeld et al. (2008). Large Area
Tornadic storms over Hungary
Figure 3: Meteosat-9, 20 May, 13:30 UTC (time of occurrence of tornado). Upper left: enhanced IR10.8 image, upper right: enhanced WV6.2–IR10.8 difference image, lower left: IR10.8 image and weather radar (Zmax>25dBz); arrow indicates tornado location, lower right: IR10.8 image and 10-minute lightning data. Time Sequence 11:45–14:00 UTC
Tornadic storms over Hungary
Figure 4: Meteosat-9, 20 May, 14:15 UTC (strong overshooting top). Upper left: RGB Composite HRV, HRV, IR10.8, upper right: RGB Composite WV6.2–WV7.3, IR3.9–IR10.8, NIR1.6–VIS0.6, lower left: IR10.8 (colour enhanced), lower right: IR3.9r (reflected component)

Additional content

Footage of a tornado taken near the city of Gátér (WMV)
Weather radar images showing bow echoes
Met-8 IR10.8 rapid scan animation 10:00–20:55 UTC
Met-8 HRV rapid scan animation 10:00–15:10 UTC
Met-8 Convection RGB rapid scan animation 10:00–14:55 UTC
Time Sequence Met-8 HRV rapid scan images
Metop-A AVHRR RGB composite VIS0.6, VIS0.8, IR11.0 08:49 UTC
Met-9 Airmass RGB image with abs. topography 500 hPa 12:00 UTC
Met-9 Natural Colour RGB image with showalter index 12:00 UTC
Paper: Cold-ring shaped storms in Central Europe (M. Setvak et al., 2008)
Observed on GOES Imagery (J. Weaver and D. Lindsey, 2004)