Recalling when a powerful F3 tornado struck near Rome

Europe is not known for tornadoes, but hundreds occur there every year, some of them deadly – like the one that tore a path through part of the metropolitan Rome area.

This Day In Weather History is a daily podcast by Chris Mei from The Weather Network, featuring stories about people, communities and events and how weather impacted them.


Given our experiences with twisters here in Canada, and their prevalence in our neighbour down south, it seems odd to think of tornadoes as a European phenomenon, as well.

Still, they do happen there, and plenty of them: Approximately 600 tornadoes per year are reported to the European Severe Storms Laboratory. That's half the number reported to the year, but to anyone whose property is damaged by a tornado, that tidbit isn't really of much comfort.

Italy is one of the more tornado-prone countries in Europe, most common among the coastlines. The town of Ladispoli, a part of the Metropolitan City of Rome, saw one of the region's regular thunderstorms turn violent, producing training cell convective lines – multiple storms following on from one another, resulting in severe flooding and more likely to produce tornadoes.

Italy tornado

An image of the deadly tornado that struck near Rome on this day four years ago.

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That happened in this case, and the powerful and deadly tornado badly damaged an eight-storey building, causing two of its floors to collapse, as well as impacting dozens of other buildings.

The twister had a long damage track, and it did worse damage to the town of Cesano, around 30 km northwest of Rome, killing at least two people and injuring dozens more.

By the time the storm had subsided, the tornado it produced was rated F3.

"This Day In Weather History” is a daily podcast by The Weather Network that features unique and informative stories from host Chris Mei.

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