From the archive: EF3 Taranto (Italy) wedge tornado, November 28, 2012

A major late-season tornado occurred during last year’s storm season on November 28, 2012 in Taranto, Italy, a city of 200 000 inhabitants. A major EF3 wedge tornado formed over the warm southern Mediterranean and came onshore in the industrial port of Taranto, hitting the Ilva steel plant. The tornado caused major damage, 22 injuries and 1 fatality. The scene was more reminiscent of the April 27, 2011 Dixie alley outbreak wedge tornadoes than what is commonly expected in Europe.

Late storm season in Europe produces some of the strongest and most impressive tornadoes. Conditions are very favourable for strong thunderstorms and tornadoes particularly in the Mediterranean. The Mediterranean seas maintains comparatively high temperatures, causing strong CAPE buildup under favourable conditions. Values in 2000 – 3500+ J/kg are not uncommon. The recent Rhodes multi-vortex tornado is another example of a strong late season Mediterranean tornado.