Five people have died in freak accidents as a result of violent storms in Poland. All the deaths were a result of falling trees in the area surrounding the Park Narodowy Bory Tucholskie, a national park of peat bogs, pine forests and lakes.
Deutsche Welle reported that rescuers had to force their way through “kilometres” of fallen trees in the Tuchola Forest to reach the site of Friday night’s tragedy.
A front of Atlantic air has forced itself into Spain, through the Alps, Austria and the Czech Republic, Germany and Poland. Hail the size of hens’ eggs fell in Spain. Flash floods raged through the Italian Alps, tombstones were felled in the Czech Republic but Poland may have seen the most dramatic effect on Friday night.
This particular storm appears to have been a mesoscale convective system (MCS), grown to such an extent that it produced destructive winds. An MCS typically creates a gust front or “squall line” that produces straight line wind damage.
Drone footage from northern Poland shows hundreds of shallow-rooted pine trees felled all in one direction. This is typical of a straight line blast of wind, not a tornado.
The city of Elblag, to the east of the national park, reported a sudden but short-lived increase in wind speed to 151 km/h before midnight. Lesser gusts, but equally sudden, and short-lived gusts were reported at Lebork and Chojnice.
The stormy worst is now over and the heat is starting to build again over a much quieter European plain.
It will take two years to clear the tens of thousands of trees smashed by the weekend storms that devastated Poland’s forests, the country’s forest service said Wednesday.
“We’re dealing with what is undoubtedly the worst disaster in the history of Polish—and perhaps even European—forestry,” Poland’s chief forester, Konrad Tomaszewski, told reporters.
The storms that hit Poland overnight Friday to Saturday killed six people, including two Girl Guides crushed by a falling tree while camping in a forest.
Aerial television footage in vast swathes of forest where trees had been snapped like matchsticks.
According to Tomaszewski, the storms brought down an estimated 8.2 million cubic metres of lumber.
More storms are forecast for the coming weekend.