Tornadic storms over Hungary

Filter by


EUMETSAT Users Twitter

RSS Feed

RSS Icon Image Library

Tornadic storms over Hungary.

Date & Time
20 May 2008 00:00 UTC
Meteosat-9, Meteosat-8, Metop-A
Global Instability Index

More information and detailed analysis of the feature can be found in the In Depth section.


In Depth

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

Jump to images

On 20 May a severe convective storm developed over Hungary causing heavy precipitation, strong winds and hail (2–5 cm). 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, PNG, 61 KB and Estofex storm forecast, PNG, 129 KB).

The top image below shows the enhanced Meteosat-9 IR10.8 image of 11:45 UTC. Brightness temperatures below 240 K are shown in colours, while values above 240 K 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, PDF, 2 MB), 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, PDF, 1 MB) and the poster from Schipper et al. (2008, PDF, 3 MB).


Meteosat-9 IR10.8 Image

Met-9, 20 May, 11:45 UTC
Channel 09 (IR10.8, colour enhanced)
Large Area (JPG, 136 KB)


See also:

Footage of a tornado taken near the city of Gátér (WMV, 15 MB)
Weather radar images showing bow echoes (JPG, 85 KB)
Met-8 IR10.8 rapid scan animation 10:00–20:55 UTC (MP4, 3 MB)
Met-8 HRV rapid scan animation 10:00–15:10 UTC (MP4, 5 MB)
Met-8 Convection RGB rapid scan animation 10:00–14:55 UTC (AVI, 13 MB)
Time Sequence Met-8 HRV rapid scan images (PPT, 464 KB)
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, PDF, 2 MB)
Observed on GOES Imagery (J. Weaver and D. Lindsey, 2004, PDF, 849 KB)
Cirrus plume formation above thunderstorm anvils (30 June 2008)
Tornadic storms over Bulgaria and Romania (22 April 2008)
Severe convective storms over Poland (2 July 2007)
Two severe MCSs on the same day over Hungary (29 June 2006)
Severe convective storms over the Czech Republic (25 June 2006)


Meteosat-9 Day Microphysics RGB Image

Met-9, 20 May, 11:45 UTC
RGB Composite VIS0.8, IR3.9r, IR10.8
with T-Reff Scatterplot, see paper from Rosenfeld et al. (2008, PDF, 4 MB)
Large Area


Meteosat-9 4-Panel Display

Met-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
Full Resolution (PNG, 1 MB)
Time Sequence 11:45–14:00 UTC (PDF, 3 MB)


Met-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)
Full Resolution (JPG, 192 KB)

By continuing to use this website, you are giving consent for EUMETSAT to store certain information about you. To learn more about what information EUMETSAT collects and how it is used, please view our Terms of Use page.