DISCUSSION: Earlier today, a line of thunderstorms erupted over Austria and dropped decent sized hailstones all over the region. Videos shared to Facebook show golf ball sized hail impacting the southern part of Austria, however thunderstorms affected the majority of the country with heavy downpours and powerful winds as well. Hail forms when strong updrafts in a growing thunderstorm pushes liquid water above the freezing level in the cloud. The water droplets eventually freeze and begin to grow as more and more liquid water droplets attach to and eventually become frozen as well. Once the “ice ball” becomes heavy enough to overcome the updraft, it begins to fall to the surface where it reaches the surface as what we know as hail. Hail ONLY occurs in thunderstorms. Hail does NOT occur during winter storms, the frozen precipitation that sometimes falls during winter storms is known as sleet.
Looking at the two videos posted to Meteo Europe’s Facebook page you can clearly see the hailstones falling and making quite an impact. Austria is not new to severe thunderstorms, and according to meteorologists from the region they occur quite often in the month of July. This is the case because Austria is located near the battleground of cool stable air from the north, and warm moist air from the south. Here, with the help of topographical lift, helps thunderstorms to blossom and grow. According to one of the major climate news outlets in Austria, ZAMG reports that July 2016 has been one of the warmest and wettest, since observations began in the country 250 years ago.
No reports of damage or fatalities have emerged from the region, but thunderstorms are expected to continue to impact the country tonight and into the day tomorrow as well. To learn more about other high-impact weather events from across Europe, be sure to click here!