Europe’s July of 2023 Was Destructive
In the midst of Summer 2023, Europe faced an unprecedented series of severe weather events. From scorching heatwaves to intense storms and flooding, the impact on communities, infrastructure, and businesses is severe. For business and community leaders, it is essential to recognize the gravity of these weather events and proactively adopt measures to mitigate their negative impacts. Accurate weather data and forecasting can prove to be invaluable tools in safeguarding against the destructive forces of nature.
The Summer of Extreme Weather
The Summer of 2023 has been marked by a series of severe weather events that are examples of the new norms we can expect of extreme weather. This means that unfortunately these extreme weather events are not isolated incidents; they are the manifestation of a changing atmosphere and are expected to become more frequent and severe in the coming years.
Specifically, the middle of July (July 9 – July 23, 2023) presented an outstanding weather pattern across central Europe. Numerous severe weather outbreaks with tornadoes, giant hail, flash floods, and destructive winds brought havoc across the Alpine region, Northern Italy, Slovenia, Croatia, and the central Balkan region. (Severe-weather.eu)
An outbreak of severe weather, including winds as strong as a major hurricane and hail the size of cantaloupes, plagued Europe over the weekend of July 21st to July 24th, 2023. The episode began Friday when a tornado struck near Milan. Since then, the wave of storms has become increasingly intense and widespread. It’s even possible that some of the hail samples collected in Italy may rival world records for size. (The Washington Post)
These storms came after a record-hot air mass that languished over Europe much of the previous week. Sardinia, Italy, soared to 118.4 degrees Fahrenheit on July 17th, provisionally tying the record for hottest temperature observed in Europe during the month of July. The hot, humid air contained extreme instability, or fuel, to foster the development of strong to severe thunderstorms. (The Washington Post)
The same hot temperatures contributed to extreme fires in Greece, where a number of infernos are blamed for dozens of deaths. On the Greek island of Rhodes, firefighters battled to bring difficult wildfires under control. More than 19,000 people were evacuated by land and sea, the AP said. Greek authorities called it the biggest evacuation effort in emergency conditions in the country’s history. (Politico EU)
Milan experienced hail, rain, and strong winds on July 24. From the Washington Post
The Impacts of These Severe Weather Events
The impacts of these severe weather events are deadly. Seven people died between July 24 and July 25, 2023, as two extreme weather events split Italy between wildfires in the south and violent storms in the north. (The Washington Post)
Just days later, parts of Croatia received a red alert for heat and the country faced one of the worst storms in recent history, as high winds and torrential rain pounded much of the country, killing four people and causing damage to critical infrastructure and homes across 14 counties. Over 100 people were injured, and 2,000 buildings damaged in the country, reported the ERCC (Emergency Response Coordination Centre). Elsewhere, severe storms have also caused the death of one person in Slovenia, where at least three people were also severely injured, more than 300 people were evacuated and 1,000 buildings damaged. Another person died in Bosnia, and more than 20 people have been injured. And in Serbia, 20 people were evacuated, according to the ERCC. (Politico EU)
Implications for Businesses
While it is too early to analyze the full implications and impacts of these specific severe weather events in Europe, it’s not hard to imagine what businesses across various sectors are currently faced with. Extreme weather events like these have a track record of far-reaching consequences. In the past storms such as these have led to supply chains disruptions, leading to delays in production and distribution. Currently, retailers in Europe are probably grappling with inventory and other asset losses due to the widespread damage reported to buildings. Likewise, tourism and hospitality industries along with outdoor entertainment have likely experienced cancellations and reduced foot traffic. Transportation networks almost certainly faced challenges with canceled flights, closed roads, and damaged infrastructure.
Beyond these immediate impacts, the long-term effects of this new norm of extreme weather can affect business planning, risk assessments, and insurance costs. Unpredictable weather patterns can lead to increased insurance premiums, reduced investor confidence, and lower credit ratings. Ignoring the increasing prevalence of extreme weather can potentially expose businesses to significant financial risks and operational challenges.
The Power of Accurate Weather Data and Forecasting
While the weather is not controllable, organizations can certainly harness the power of accurate weather data and forecasting to prepare and protect our communities and businesses from its adverse effects.
Risk Assessment and Planning
Access to precise weather data allows businesses to conduct comprehensive risk assessments. Identifying vulnerable locations, assets, and supply chains enables targeted contingency planning to minimize disruptions during extreme weather events.
Accurate weather forecasting helps optimize day-to-day operations. For instance, transportation companies can adjust routes and schedules to avoid severe weather conditions, to reduce delays and costs.
Proactive communication with customers can help manage expectations during extreme weather events. Transparency about potential disruptions and delays can foster trust and loyalty.
Weather data can inform decisions on resource allocation. For instance, energy providers can anticipate spikes in demand during heatwaves and take measures to ensure a steady supply.
Disaster Preparedness and Response
Timely weather forecasts allow businesses to enact disaster preparedness plans swiftly. Implementing effective response measures can minimize damage and downtime, thereby reducing recovery costs.
Adopting weather data as part of sustainability initiatives can help businesses demonstrate their commitment to climate resilience and responsible environmental stewardship.
Are You Harnessing the Power of Reliable Weather Data?
The severe weather events experienced so far in Europe this summer serve as stark reminders of the need to prioritize extreme weather insights. By leveraging accurate weather data and forecasting, organizations can bolster resilience and safeguard communities. Advancements in technology will become crucial for increasing the speed and accuracy of weather insights. Better radar coverage, expanded observational datasets, cutting-edge numerical weather prediction models, and the integration of Artificial Intelligence offer tremendous potential for improving weather forecast accuracy. With Climavision’s investment and innovation in these areas, communities and businesses can strengthen their preparedness, save lives, and minimize risk caused by extreme weather events. If you like to learn more, contact us.