On June 29th, 1764, an intense tornado ripped through Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Germany.
By pure luck and chance, there was one fatality, despite the evidently violent nature of the twister. The lack of fatalities was because the majority of the population was not at work on that fateful day, but were attending a day of penance and prayer.
Below we can see the majority of the damage path, showing that the most destructive action was taking place at and around the Lichtenberg Dairy Farm. One can presume that had the tornado occurred on any other day, the death total would have skyrocketed.
However, as we see in the tornadoes’ path, not everyone was unaffected. The time of touchdown was 1:05 pm in the afternoon.
And upon observation, we find that the tornado started off strong, certainly strong enough to pick children up and hurl them into a lake. Luckily, they both survived to tell the tale. But as the storm grew closer to the Lichtenberg forest the twister, unfortunately, took the life of an individual at F3 strength before clawing its way onward.
The F5(EF5)destruction debarked oak trees, ripped tree trunks from the ground, and nearly demolished the dairy farm.
After exiting the Lichtenberg forest, the now F3 tornado began to hit what would have normally been the most populated part of town.
With nearly everyone home eating lunch, it traveled from one side of town to the other. The tornado is shown to have widened in size, despite the overall intensity weakening. Churches, barns, and more trees suffer damage. According to numerous eye-witness accounts, several birds were reported to be caught and trapped within the vortex of the storm.
There is certainly no doubt that this was indeed a very powerful tornado. Because of the damage left behind by the storm, German scientist Gottlob Burchard Genzmer took to writing a fully detailed report on the occurrence. At least, to the best of his ability.
At the time, there was little knowledge about storms and the tornado-like beasts that can derive from them. There was no technology to rely on to give us any insight on these storms, and certainly no tornado warnings. Anybody that desired to report on these incidents was left to piece together information through the naked eye and eyewitness accounts.
Despite the difficulties and lack of technology, Genzmer managed to pull off a well-detailed report. This report was 7 letters long, a total of 77 paragraphs in which he carefully described the damage seen in the wake of the tornado.
The scientist is cautious to take note of contradictions and exaggerations when regarding any eye-witness accounts. In addition to the written report, Genzmer illustrated a map of the tornado path and an example of the damage done to the trees in the area. The trees are mangled like twigs.
Originally the report was sent to the minister of Mecklenburg-Strelitz, but five years prior to his death Genzmer published the report as a book. While not the first report of a tornado, Genzmer’s report remains a very important step towards the science of meteorology.
His illustrations are available to download online, and I highly recommend examing the report for yourself. The report provides a lot of important details about how both animals and humans reacted to severe weather at that given time and place.
All images are screenshots from a shortened report of the actual report itself, written and put together by Bernold Feuerstein and Thilo Kuhne.