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Rare tornado, storms rip through southern Czech Republic, killing three

Friday, June 25th 2021, 7:11 am - Most powerful tornado on record hit the Czech Republic, causing fatalities and hundreds of injuries across the Hodonin district.

MORAVSKA NOVA VES, Czech Republic (Reuters) - A rare tornado and strong storms struck along the Czech Republic's southern border on Thursday to destroy parts of some towns, killing at least three people and injuring dozens more, emergency services and media said.

The tornado, reported in towns around Hodonin, along the Slovak and Austrian borders and 270 km (167 miles) southeast of Prague, the capital, may have reached windspeeds above 332 kph (206 mph), a Czech Television meteorologist said.

That would make it the strongest in the modern history of the central European nation and its first tornado since 2018.

2021-06-25T090759Z 1 LYNXNPEH5O0CV RTROPTP 4 CZECH-WEATHER-TORNADO People are seen through a damaged window in the aftermath of a rare tornado that struck and destroyed parts of some towns, in Mikulcice village, Czech Republic, June 25, 2021. REUTERS/David W Cerny

Strong storms ripped roofs off houses and other buildings, blew out windows, overturned cars and scattered debris through the streets.

Workers of emergency services rested amid debris in the market town of Moravska Nova Ves, after having worked through the night.

A spokesperson for the South Moravia region's ambulance service told Czech Television three people died in the storms and dozens were treated for injuries.

2021-06-25T090759Z 1 LYNXNPEH5O0CW RTROPTP 4 CZECH-WEATHER-TORNADO People are seen through a damaged window in the aftermath of a rare tornado that struck and destroyed parts of some towns, in Mikulcice village, Czech Republic, June 25, 2021. REUTERS/David W Cerny

Czech TV reported as many as seven small towns were "massively" damaged, citing an emergency services spokesperson. An official of one municipality, Hrusky, said half of the town was practically levelled to the ground.

Search and rescue teams fanned out in the area, with neighbouring Austria and Slovakia also sending emergency units to help.

(Reporting by David Cerny in Moravska Nova Ves and Jason Hovet in Prague; editing by Jonathan Oatis)

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