Sunday's hurricane left behind two victims in the Czech Republic

Kindergarten in Uncovice bei Olomouc (Foto: CTK)

Gale-force wind that blew at the speed of some 200 kilometres per hour in Western and Central Europe over the weekend, left behind two victims in the Czech Republic. According to Czech meteorologists, it was the strongest wind the country experienced in more than 20 years.

Photo: CTK
In the Sumava mountain range in West Bohemia the wind blew at the speed of 130 kilometres per hour, on the highest Czech mountain, Snezka in the Giant Mountains its speed was 150 kilometres. The first victim of the hurricane was a 28 year-old driver from West Bohemia. The wind broke a thick branch which fell on his passing car. The car went into a skid and hit a tree. The young man later died of his injuries in the hospital. Another man died - this time of a heart attack - in the Decin region in North Bohemia, when he was removing a fallen tree from his garden.

Meteorologists have compared the gale-force wind to carpet bombing. Travelling from west to east, the high wind broke telegraph poles, which resulted in electricity cuts, and trees which blocked roads and railway lines throughout the country and caused many car and train accidents. Also many roofs were blown away.

Photo: CTK
The Karlovy Vary region in Western Bohemia was the worst hit, because it was hit twice - at Saturday night and then again on Sunday. In the Moravian city of Olomouc a large roof threatened to fall off a car-park and damage more than 50 cars, but fortunately local firemen succeeded in averting the danger.

Meteorologist Frantisek Sedlacek from Hradec Kralove explained the main cause of the hurricane:

"It was caused by the passage of a cold front combined with a low air pressure area above the Czech Republic which came here from the Baltic region, accompanied with unusually cold air. The air pressure dropped substantially and the combination of these factors usually causes high winds."

Jan Havelka from the Czech Meteorological Institute in Prague says that the damaging hurricane came to Europe from America, which usually happens in spring and autumn. Although on its way to Europe it was loosing power, it was still strong enough to cause frequent torrential rain and thunderstorms, says Mr. Havelka. He says another hurricane is not expected to come back within the next 10 days.