More than 35 tornadoes and snorkels in France in 15 days!

The first 15 days of May in France were marked by exceptional tornadic activity! 37 tornadoes, snorkels and waterspouts were recorded from May 1 to 15, according to the Keraunos observatory.

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The most remarkable period was that of May 10 to 13: in 4 days, no less than 29 phenomena occurred, including 14 just for the day of May 11. This activity, described as “exceptional” by the Keraunos observatory, is a record since the start of records of tornadoes and other vortex phenomena. However, this observation needs to be qualified: tornadoes have only really been recorded since 2006 and the use of smartphones has revolutionized reporting.

Hauts-de-France, the most tornadic region in May

Most of the vortex phenomena of this first half of May occurred in the north-east of France: 13 in Hauts-de-France, 7 in the Grand-Est and 5 in Bourgogne-Franche-Comté. The distribution of tornadoes and snorkels is therefore not surprising, since it is one of the French areas usually the most affected.

An unusually active month of May in terms of tornadoes

But such activity in May is rather unusual: the month of May is not the busiest of the year, it is on average in 6e position, with the months of August, October and June at the top of the ranking.

This month of May 2023 was marked by the passage of several depressions in France, including a very hollow cold drop between the 10th and 13th. Even if it is always difficult to predict and explain the formation of tornadoes, the weather situation was very conducive to violent storms and whirlwind phenomena.

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