Tornadoes possible in Austria as weather chaos continues

Austria was hit by another night of severe storms last night with latest forecasts suggesting that some areas could be hit by tornado winds later today.

Tornadoes possible in Austria as weather chaos continues
Photo: Feuerwehr Amstetten

On Tuesday evening three people were rescued at the last minute from a sinking car after they drove it into a flooded road in the district of Amstetten in Lower Austria.

“The water was already up to the doors, the passengers could not open them,” Amstetten fire service spokesperson Philipp Gutlederer told the ORF.

Shortly after the people were rescued, the roof of the car was nearly completely underwater, according to the fire service.

Although the east will see the sunniest weather in the country, forecaster ‘Aktuelle Wetterwarnungen für Österreich’ warned that further heavy storms threaten the south and south-east of the country later today, including the possibility of tornado-like conditions.

Passengers at Vienna International Airport were left stranded after planes were severely delayed due to the thunder and lightning storm the hit the city on Tuesday evening.

Flights had to be re-directed to nearby Bratislava airport, although an airport spokesperson could not confirm to the ORF exactly how many flights were affected.

Some passengers complained online of a lack of timely information from the airport or airlines, who were forced for safety reasons to stop planes from landing.

“We took these measures for safety reasons due to the lightning, thunder and strong winds,” an airport spokesperson told the ORF.

In Styria, where around 1000 fire service personnel were again deployed overnight, the turbulent weather is thought to have caused €3.3 million worth of damage.

Regions of the state were hit by hailstorms, including in the municipality of Pischelsdorf where hailstones the size of golfballs covered the ground. Residents in Klagenfurt also reported hailstones as big as 5-6 cm on Tuesday morning.

Much of western Austria is expected to be hit by a cold front over the next few days, with between 30 and 60 litres of rain per square metre possible on Thursday in western and nothern regions.

The Austrian weather service ZAMG said yesterday, however, that they expect the summer conditions to return to much of the country by Sunday.

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UPDATE: One dead in Austrian landslides

One person has died after landslides caused by heavy rains waged widespread damage in southern Austria on Wednesday.

UPDATE: One dead in Austrian landslides

Record rain falls overnight Tuesday to Wednesday sparked the landslides, sending mud and debris into populated regions. Several streams also burst their banks in the mountainous Villach-Land district in Carinthia state, which borders Italy and Slovenia.

President Alexander Van der Bellen called the destruction in Carinthia “dramatic”, appealing to people to take care of themselves and others.

An 82-year-old man was found dead after he was swept into the floods by a landslide, district head Bernd Riepan said.

Another person reported missing while travelling in a car managed to get himself to safety, he added.

One community with some 1,200 inhabitants remained cut off, Riepan told AFP. No one there was reported injured. Riepan said many houses had been partially buried in the district, though the exact number was not yet known.

Photos showed debris-strewn streets and houses partially submerged in water and mud in Villach-Land.

A flooding alert at another community in adjacent Salzburg state imposed earlier on Wednesday was lifted as the situation improved, according to the Austrian news agency APA.

“One person has been found dead unfortunately… outside the home,” a police spokeswoman, who declined to be named, told AFP.

In some areas of the region, there has never been such a large amount of rain in such a short time since the start of measurements, according to the Central Institute for Meteorology and Geodynamics (ZAMG).

Riepan said “many” houses had been partially buried, though the exact number was not yet known. Photos showed debris-strewn streets and houses partially submerged in water and mud in Villach-Land.

READ MORE: Wild weather in Austria: How to protect yourself during summer storms

ZAMG said it rained as much in just a few hours as it does for the entire month of an average June.

Austria is currently experiencing a heatwave and authorities have warned of thunderstorms.

Experts say climate change is increasing the frequency and intensity of heatwaves and other extreme weather events.