Theoretical and Applied Climatology

, Volume 132, Issue 3–4, pp 1201–1216 | Cite as

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

  • Rudolf Brázdil
  • Peter Stucki
  • Péter Szabó
  • Petr Dobrovolný
  • Ladislava Řezníčková
  • Oldřich Kotyza
  • Hubert Valášek
  • Lukáš Dolák
  • Pavel Zahradníček
  • Silvie Suchánková
Original Paper


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.



RB, PSz, PD, HV, LŘ, SS and LD were supported by project of the Czech Science Foundation ref. no. 15-11805S. RB, PD, LŘ and LD also received funding from the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports of the Czech Republic within the National Sustainability Program I (NPU I), grant number LO1415. PSz and SS were also supported by long-term research development project ref. no. RVO 67985939. PSt was supported by the Dr. Alfred Bretscher Fonds, University of Bern, Bern, Switzerland. Support for the Twentieth Century Reanalysis Project dataset is provided by the U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Science Innovative and Novel Computational Impact on Theory and Experiment (DOE INCITE) program, and the Office of Biological and Environmental Research (BER), and by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Climate Program Office. Our sincere thanks are extended to Lenka Hájková (CHMI Ústí nad Labem), Lucie Kašičková (CHMI Hradec Králové), Pavel Lipina and Miroslav Řepka (CHMI Ostrava) for the wind data from the stations cited in Table 1. Tony Long (Svinošice) helped work up the English.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Wien 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Rudolf Brázdil
    • 1
    • 2
  • Peter Stucki
    • 3
    • 4
  • Péter Szabó
    • 5
  • Petr Dobrovolný
    • 1
    • 2
  • Ladislava Řezníčková
    • 1
    • 2
  • Oldřich Kotyza
    • 6
  • Hubert Valášek
    • 1
  • Lukáš Dolák
    • 1
    • 2
  • Pavel Zahradníček
    • 2
    • 7
  • Silvie Suchánková
    • 5
  1. 1.Institute of GeographyMasaryk UniversityBrnoCzech Republic
  2. 2.Global Change Research Institute, Czech Academy of SciencesBrnoCzech Republic
  3. 3.Oeschger Centre for Climate Change ResearchBernSwitzerland
  4. 4.Institute of GeographyUniversity of BernBernSwitzerland
  5. 5.Department of Vegetation EcologyInstitute of Botany, Czech Academy of SciencesBrnoCzech Republic
  6. 6.Regional MuseumLitoměřiceCzech Republic
  7. 7.Czech Hydrometeorological InstituteBrnoCzech Republic

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