Sep 19, 2020 07:00 AM EDT
A Medicane, the rare, powerful hurricane in Meditteranean, made landfall in Greece and other parts of the country on Friday, bringing heavy rain, strong winds, and flooding.
The Hellenic National Meteorological Service called the medicane Ianos, which made landfall on Lefkada island on Friday morning, is also expected to seep over mainland Greece and the Peloponnese peninsula.
Ianos moves at sustained winds of 100 kph before making landfall, the same intensity for a strong tropical storm in the Atlantic.
Medicane is expected to move southeast, causing heavy rainfall and strong winds. Rainfall of 150-250 mm is expected in the next 48 hours. Some areas may even get rain as high as 500 mm; thus, residents must be vigilant.
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Damage of Medicane Lanos
There are no reports of death or injuries so far. However, the medicane has caused damage to several properties, while some Greek islands were hit by flooding and power cuts.
The islands of Kefalonia, Zante, and Ithaca are greatly affected by Ianos, Nikos Miliotis Citizen protection Deputy Governor said.
Power outages, fallen trees, and sunken sailboats are so far reported in Ithaca. In Zante, power is also out.
Rare Mediterranean Hurricanes Called Medicanes
This particular medicane may be the stronger one recorded yet.
Medicanes have many features in common with hurricanes and typhoons. It does form over cool waters and moves from west to east. In contrast, hurricanes most often move from east to west.
In satellite images, the medicane resembles a hurricane that one would expect from the Caribbean.
Some models from European Storm Forecasters suggest sustained winds at 125 kph, with gusts of 180 kph. The strong winds are expected to case hazards and damage, the European Storm Forecasters said.
Greece’s national meteorological service issued a high-level Red Alert for winds, rain, and storms due to medicane.
Authorities urged citizens, especially in the affected areas, to stay indoors and avoid basement areas to prevent them from being trapped from flooding. They further advised citizens to watch out and secure objects that may fly away.
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Medicanes are unheard of before the 1990s, but it had become a regular occurrence recently, and experts have linked it to rising sea temperatures.
A study published in 2011 revealed that medicanes occur only once or twice every year, usually during September and October. These are the period when sea surface temperatures are warm. Warm sea temperatures allow the storm to develop more tropical appearances and characteristics, causing the winds to become intense by increasing the wind speeds.
Although a rare occurrence in the Mediterranean region, studies show that global warming would likely cause more intense medicanes in the future, bringing with stronger winds and heavier rainfall.
In 2018, Greece was struck with a similar storm. A year after, Egypt also experienced medicane. Both weather events got several months worth of rain, causing deadly flooding.
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