Hot summer brings tropical storms

  • 2001-07-26
  • Jorgen Johansson
RIGA - The unusually hot and humid summer in the Baltic states has not only brought increased sales in tanning lotion, but also some horrendous storms, which have caused thousands of dollars of damage to power lines, cars and houses. The most powerful of the storms surged through the region between July 15 and 20.

In Latvia, no human deaths were reported, but in the early hours of July 16 a thunderstorm sweeping across Latvia ended in tragedy for a horse breeder in the northeastern region of Valka. Twelve of his equestrian horses were killed in one blow when lightning struck them as they stood huddling in a field.

The breeder, Rihards Circenis, said he ran out of his home to check on the horses during the storm when he heard the horses as the lightning hit.

"I saw the animals dead in a heap. They must have been killed by the lightning," said a confused Circenis.

The Latvian Weather Service warned there will likely be more thunderstorms before July is over. Normally Latvia has between three and six days of stormy weather in July. This year there have already been considerably more storms than that.

There have been nine storms in Stende, eight in Daugavpils and seven in Riga.

The strongest winds were recorded in Ventspils, where they registered 97.2 kph, and in Rujena at 79.2 kph. In Riga, the winds clocked at between 61.2 and 79.2 kilometer per hour.

One family in Riga, who last year saw a severe storm damage both of their cars, suffered the same fate this year on the same cars as trees and branches rained down on them. Since the damages came from a natural disaster, the family cannot claim any insurance compensation under their policy.

Anna Niznika, a spokeswoman at the Latvian Weather Service, said it is very difficult to predict a thunderstorm, but said: "If there are two or three days of hot weather in a row, there's a good chance a low-pressure system will cause the temperature to drop by 10 to 15 degrees Celsius and a storm will occur."

The Latvian Weather Service predicts there will be storms in the Latgale and Vidzeme regions on the 26th and 27th of this month, but the winds will probably not be as strong as during previous storms.