Hurricane winds: New storms approaching in Austria

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Hurricane winds: New storms approaching in Austria
It's going to be rainy in Austria. (Photo by JOE KLAMAR / AFP)

After a night with heavy rains and storms, and hurricane winds, Austria is set for more rainfall this week.


On the night of Tuesday, a storm front with heavy rain and gale-force winds of over 130 km/h hit Western Austria, leading to hundreds of fire brigade operations, according to Austrian media reports. The provinces of Tyrol and Salzburg were particularly affected.

Around 300 operations were carried out by the fire brigade in Tyrol alone, with some roads being closed or only passable with difficulty due to fallen trees and downed branches. The storm also caused obstructions on the Rheintal motorway (A14) in Vorarlberg and interrupted railway lines in several areas.

The electricity grid was also affected; temporarily, 14,000 households in 22 Tyrolean communities were without electricity. Some buildings had to be evacuated, and a motorcyclist was injured due to a fallen tree in Lower Austria.

READ ALSO: Is Austria set for a summer of heatwaves and storms?

More than 800 firefighters were on duty in Salzburg during the night, and there were numerous emergency calls due to damages caused by the storm. Despite initial concerns, holidaymakers who were kayaking on the banks of the Danube at the Enns Canal were able to bring themselves to safety.

Wednesday storms

Although there was a brief easing on Wednesday morning, heavy showers and thunderstorms with gusts of over 100 km/h are expected again until the afternoon, mainly affecting East Tyrol, Upper Carinthia, Salzburg, and Upper Styria. Small-scale flooding may occur due to heavy rain, and there is still a risk of severe weather on Thursday.

On Thursday, the influence of a cold front across the Alps should bring more rain to the entire country, according to weather agency Geosphere Austria. However, the agency said the tendency for showers will decrease in the afternoon. 

The weekend will be sunny with sweltering weather, as temperatures may reach up to 37C in parts of the country - including eastern regions such as Vienna.

READ ALSO: What is Austria’s official emergency-warning phone app and do I need it?


How to protect yourself during storm season?

Stay indoors

One of the biggest risks during a storm is being hit by flying debris. For this reason, it's best to stay indoors during a storm and close all windows and doors. If you're in a tent or campervan, seek shelter in a building, if possible, until the storm has passed.

Stay away from the cellar

Cellars and underground car parks can quickly become flooded during heavy rain. Stay away from these areas during a storm and call the emergency services if you suspect a flood in your home.

Remove plants and furniture from balconies

Plants and outdoor furniture can be damaged during a storm. To prevent this, move them inside during a thunderstorm with strong wind gusts and lightning.

Park cars under shelter

Hail can cause damage to cars. If hail is forecast during a storm, park your car in a garage or under a shelter if possible. Avoid parking under trees as debris, or even the tree itself, could land on the vehicle.

READ ALSO: Who to call and what to say in an emergency in Austria

Don't go into the forest

Stay away from forests or areas with lots of trees during a storm. Lightning or strong wind can bring down trees, making the forest dangerous during a storm. If you find yourself in a forest during a thunderstorm, stay away from low branches and tree trunks, place any walking sticks or metal poles away, and avoid metal fences.


Avoid risky activities

Certain outdoor activities are especially hazardous during a lightning storm. Activities that put you into contact with water or metal should be avoided until the storm is over. This includes fishing, swimming, boating, cycling, and golfing.

Keep torch and candles ready

Power cuts are common during storms, so keep a stock of candles and torches ready in case you end up without electricity for several hours. It's also a good idea to have a portable USB charger to ensure your phone doesn't run out of battery during an emergency.


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