The European continent is not free from tornado events. While in the USA, some 1,200 tornadoes could be observed annually, on the European continent only 300 events every year are recorded. Europe experiences less frequent events than USA, but storms can be really devastating. Storms occur when warm humid air near the surface lay under drier air aloft with temperatures decreasing rapidly with height, providing energy for the storms through the production of instability. Large changes in wind with height or ‘‘wind shear’’ over both shallow and deep layers—combined with the instability and high humidity near the surface—create a situation favorable for tornadoes to form. Midwestern American areas are an incredible basin that in summer fills with hot air and humidity, provided by the Gulf of Mexico; the drier air comes from Canada, providing energy for the storms through the production of instability. In Europe the northeast of Italy is often the place in which cold air coming from the Alps encounter warm and humid air coming from the Adriatic Sea and Africa, and cause widespread severe thunderstorms across the plains of northern Italy. On July 24, 1930 the vicinity of Montello in the Po river valley of northeastern Italy, just south of the southern foot of the Alps was hit by the strongest tornado in Europe on record. The tornado maxed out on the Fujita scale at F5 rating, producing extreme damage – even destroying strong masonry like churches. The area was devastated with more than 20 fatalities and whole villages wiped off the map.
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