Estimated reading time: 2 minutes

A rare tornado considered to be the most devastating in the modern history of the Czech Republic hit several villages in South Moravia in the southeast of the Czech Republic on June 24. The tornado was accompanied by hail the size of a tennis ball, killing at least five people and injuring hundreds. In addition, extreme weather destroyed a retirement home and the local zoo in Hodonin.

The most affected area is the village of Luzice, where 100 to 120 houses were destroyed. Roofs were torn from houses and other buildings, windows were blown up, and cars were overturned.

The tornado also produced widespread energy interruptions and traffic divisions, with fallen power lines closing a major highway linking Prague to the Slovak capital Bratislava. A total of 78,000 households and businesses were left without power on Friday morning.

About 360 additional police officers were sent to the area, along with soldiers. Counterparts from Austria and Slovakia joined rescue teams from all over the country. Drones, helicopters, and trained dogs were used to search through the rubble.

The tornado would have reached wind speeds of over 332 km/h. It likely had F4 intensity on the Fujita scale. F4 corresponds to wind speeds between 330 and 420 km/h and causes significant damage.

Meteorologist Martin Setvak said it is still unclear whether there was a single tornado or several independent ones.

Tornadoes are rare in the Czech Republic, the last of which dates to 2004 when about 50 houses were destroyed in the eastern town of Litovel.

[Photo from Pixabay]