Rare tornado rips through southern Czech Republic, killing three

A screenshot from an online video said to show the tornado as it tears across the Czech landscape.
A screenshot from an online video said to show the tornado as it tears across the Czech landscape.SCREENSHOT: TWITTER

PRAGUE (REUTERS) - A rare tornado and strong storms struck along the Czech Republic’s southern border on Thursday (June 24) to destroy parts of some towns, killing at least three people and injuring dozens more, emergency services and media said.

The tornado, reported in towns around Hodonin, along the Slovak and Austrian borders and 270km southeast of Prague, the capital, may have reached wind speeds above 332km per hour, a Czech Television meteorologist said.

That would make it the strongest in the modern history of the central European nation and its first tornado since 2018.

Strong storms ripped roofs off houses and other buildings, blew out windows, overturned cars and scattered debris through the streets.

Workers of emergency services rested amid debris in the market town of Moravska Nova Ves, after having worked through the night.

A spokesman for the South Moravia region’s ambulance service told Czech Television that three people died in the storms and dozens were treated for injuries.

Czech TV reported as many as seven small towns were massively damaged, citing an emergency services spokesman.

An official of one municipality, Hrusky, said half of the town was practically levelled to the ground.

Search and rescue teams fanned out in the area, with neighbouring Austria and Slovakia also sending emergency units to help.