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The costliest European storm of 2020 through citizen’s eyes

We used our technology to monitor the costliest European Storm Alex through citizen eyes. Read our insight below.
Blog Storm Alex

We used our technology to monitor Storm Alex through citizen’s eyes. Below you can read more about our findings. Would you rather experience a demo of how we have collected these types of messages? Then watch the replay of our webinar.

The Storm

Storm Alex hit south-eastern France, north-western Italy and the UK at the beginning of October 2020. It came around with powerful winds and heavy rains. As a result of the severe flooding, thousands of households were impacted. The damage is estimated at $3 billion according to Aon, making it the costliest natural disaster in Europe of 2020.

Preparedness & Monitoring through citizen’s eyes

We employed our expertise to follow up on Aon’s call for better preparedness for natural disasters. According to this article, using AI is one of the technological developments that will play a big role in emergency and crisis management.

So, we used our technology to monitor Storm Alex through citizen’s eyes. Below are some insights into our findings.

Situational awareness

We captured messages of people sharing live footage of the rainfall resulting in devastating floods. An example is this video showing the severity of destruction in Roquebilliere, France.

storm alex tweet


Similarly, citizens in Varese, Italy shared pictures of the 120km/h wind tearing down acres of forest.

storm alex tweet

damage storm alex

Another user shared the location and footage of the storm hitting the United Kingdom.


storm alex


Other than live video and pictures, we collected information about the sentiment of people experiencing the catastrophe. The citizen below shares their devastation about the loss of cross-border connections due to lost roads because of the storm.

sentiment tweet storm alex


Lastly, we captured valuable information regarding the devastating aftermath of storm Alex. Citizens shared heartbreaking messages about dead and missing others.

aftermath tweet storm alex

As well as about ongoing search and rescue operations.

aftermath tweet 2


We firmly believe that technology can significantly contribute to all phases of disaster management, from preparedness to awareness and response. PublicSonar uses artificial intelligence to create actionable insights that: prepare, alert, detect and create situational awareness. This is crucial especially in emergencies when a fast response is vital.  When responders face the challenge of being data rich, but information poor, we provide them with the best information for decision making. Learn how we can support you by emailing us at or reach out through our contact page. 

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