Publication details

The second most disastrous windstorm of the nineteenth century in the Czech Lands, 26-27 October 1870

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Year of publication 2018
Type Article in Periodical
Magazine / Source Theoretical and Applied Climatology
MU Faculty or unit

Faculty of Science

Field Atmosphere sciences, meteorology
Keywords windstorm of 26/27 October 1870; documentary data; Twentieth Century Reanalysis; meteorological situation; damage; forestry; Czech Lands; central Europe
Description One of the most disastrous windstorms to take place over the Czech Lands occurred on the night of 26/27 October 1870. It is here analysed through the use of documentary data (narrative sources, newspapers, forestry journals, printed documents) and systematic meteorological observations (wind force and direction). Combining this evidence with information derived from an atmospheric reanalysis dataset allows the severity of the windstorm to be attributed to the passage of a cold front, a frontal system associated with a secondary low in a typically storm-prone synoptic environment. Its social impacts were characterised by great material damage, particularly to buildings and other structures, trees and forests. These are recorded not only for 174 places around the countryside and lesser settlements of the Czech Lands, but also for 28 city quarters in Prague, the capital city. The windstorm occurred in the night hours, so only a few people were killed or injured. However, the 1870 windstorm totally devastated many forested areas of the Šumava Mts. in south-west Bohemia. Damage to forests in other parts of the Czech Lands was also severe, but difficult to quantify exactly for lack of high-resolution spatial data. Because this windstorm followed only shortly upon a previous similarly disastrous wind event on 7 December 1868, the enormous quantity of windthrown wood in forests, which simply could not be fast-processed, contributed significantly to a subsequent bark-beetle infestation calamity in the 1870s. In certain forest stands, imprints of these aggregate effects appear to this day. The central-European scale of 1870 windstorm is also well documented by meteorological and documentary data from Germany, Austria and Slovakia.
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