A large, powerful tornado hit the town of Taranto, Italy earlier today.
Video of the twister is impressive, showing a wide, intense vortex (a “wedge” tornado) - more characteristic of the Midwest or southern U.S. - carving a destructive path through the southeast Italian town. You can spot multiple vortices inside the tornado at times as well as exploding transformers.
Reuters reports the tornado struck Europe’s largest steel plant, injuring 20 workers.
“The tornado rolled off the sea and hit the port city of Taranto, bringing down a chimney stack and damaging a warehouse and lighthouse at the factory’s docks, the [steel] company said in a statement,” Reuters reports.
This same plant is under investigation for corruption Reuters said.
The tornado was triggered by an intense storm system centered west of Italy in the northern Mediterranean that caused strong turning of the winds with height in the region. Taranto’s winds at surface were from the warm southerly direction while colder winds were blowing in from the west at higher altitudes. The resulting instability and wind shear created a volatile environment favorable for severe storms.
Here is one more video of the tornado, closer up:
Tornadoes in Italy happen from time to time but are less common and typically not as strong as those in the United States, and rare in late November.
Related: Tornado tears through parts of Venice, Italy (VIDEOS) (from June 12, 2012)