Rare tornado sweeps through Russia – Was it new?

Tornado as shown by national news channel

The former Soviet Union saw an unusual storm in the small town of Krasnozavodsk of the Moscow region. The world’s largest country usually gets extreme winter storms but a tornado send the country to think that what does global warming holds for Russia. What really happened?

On August 1, a rare and unusually powerful tornado created havoc in the city of Blagoveshchensk. Tornado had everything unusual; its strength, duration, location and the country in which it occurred. Russia does not have tornado-friendly climate like its cold war’s arch rival the United States of America.

First tornado since 2009

First tornado to be caught on camera in Russia

The twister lasted for 13 minutes, during its life time it killed 1 man while dozens were reported to be injured. The storm left pile of destruction every where it went, the resulting tornado shredded through the town, overturning cars, uprooting trees and destroying homes.  The  tornado was just 30 miles away from Moscow, Russia’s capital. Moscow region is also not new to tornadoes. Authorities in Russia’s Far East declared state of emergency in the wake of a powerful and rare tornado. The authorities in the Amur region estimate the damage to at 80 million rubles ($3 million), due to the storm.

It was the first tornado to sweep through any major city of Russia, the tornado has been labelled as “city tornado” due to its formation in the city. The twister struck Blagoveshchensk on Sunday night, killing one person and injuring dozens more. Blagoveshchensk, a city of 220,000 across the Amur River border from China, has a warm summer climate with occasional thunderstorms. However, tornadoes are rare, it will be not wrong if we say that tornadoes are extremely rare. Another formation of tornado in the city is unlikely but even if it does form, the tornado wont tell any body. Waterspouts are somewhat common, but once they hit land they die out.

History of tornadoes in Russia

Russia’s vast landmass does sometimes experience tornadoes. But it seems that many tornadoes have also formed near the Moscow region, following are the years of tornadoes that eyed Moscow;

  • Tornado of June 29, 1904.
  • Tornado of 1945.
  • Tornado of 1970
  • Tornado of 1971
  • Tornado of 1984
  • Tornado of 1987
  • Tornado of 1994.
  • Tornado of 1997, just 100 km away from Moscow city.
  • Tornado of June 3, 2009

Great tornado of 1904

The 1904 tornado is one of only three disastrous tornadoes that occurred in central Russia in recorded history, the other being in 1984 and 2009. The 1904 tornado formed in the Moscow region and amazingly caused no deaths in the then-Soviet Union.

Formation of 1904 tornado

The formation of this tornado can be traced back to June 29, a summer thunderstorm formed in the Tular region of the Union, it then travelled northwards giving summer showers to many areas in its path the thunderstorm rapidly intensified due to good outflow and ample presence of moisture. When the cloud approached remote Moscow suburbs, it formed funnel cloud, and later a tornado formed that brought destruction. It was a F2 tornado on the Fujita Scale.

The Modern-day tornadoes of 1984

City came to standstill on August 1, 2011

Two tornadoes struck the region of Russia just North of Moscow. The first tornado was a very strong tornado as it was a F5 tornado on the Fujita Scale. The 1984 tornado outbreak was the worst in Russia, it killed a total of 4,00 people while some 213 people were injured

 Ivanovo tornado

This F5 tornado killed at least 95 people in the area while more than 130 people were injured. It was the largest, strongest and most long-lived tornado in the history of Russia as it covered a total of 81 miles (130 km).

Kostroma tornado

The exact strength in this tornado is not known but it is believed that it was a F4 tornado on the Fujita Scale, there are indications that the tornado may have attained F5 intensity. Widespread reports of destruction was reported from this tornado.

Post-Soviet Union tornado of 2009

It was the first tornado since 1984 that created havoc in the city of Krasnozavodsk, Moscow region. It was a F3 tornado on the Fujita Scale. The storm damaged some 40 buildings while 1 person was killed and some 180 people were injured when the tornado touched the ground. The tornado was the first intense tornado to impact the Moscow region in nearly 25 years.

Formation of 2009 tornado

On June 3, 2009, a low pressure area formed over the Baltic Sea that collided with a warm air, creating atmospheric instability in the atmosphere. The usual interaction caused some severe thunderstorms to form in a line in the Moscow region. One of the thunderstorms broke off and developed into a supercell about 30 km from Moscow.  The supercell gave birth to a powerful F3 tornado in Krasnozavodsk.

So the answer is that, no! it was not new.

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