‘Medicane’ to bring heavy rain, strong winds to southern Greece, Crete


Accuweather.com — A medicane is a rare, tropical-like cyclone that forms in the Mediterranean Sea whose formation is similar to that of a subtropical system in the Atlantic Ocean. Medicanes are typically small cyclones with a short lifespan.

These cyclones originate from non-tropical systems then feed off the warm waters of the Mediterranean and take on tropical characteristics.

Rounds of rain will spread across the eastern Mediterranean into the first day of October. Some of the rain will pour down heavily at times, which can trigger flash flooding and mudslides.

“At this time, the heaviest rain is expected to fall on the northern and western side of Crete, as well as the other southern Greek islands and southwestern coast of Turkey,” said AccuWeather Meteorologist Tyler Roys. “In these areas, there can be an AccuWeather Local StormMax™ of 200 mm (8 inches).”

Most of this rain will fall Saturday night into early Monday. It is also at this time when these areas will face strong winds.

“There can be widespread gusts of 95 km/h (60 mph) across coastal Crete into southwestern Turkey,” Roys said. “Gusts to 130 and 145 km/h (80 and 90 mph) cannot be ruled out across the southern coast of Crete and the southwestern coast of Turkey.”

Such winds can down trees and damage weak structures. Power outages can occur, while travellers may face disruptions.

If the storm tracks more to the north than currently expected, the zone of the heaviest rain and strongest winds will also follow suit.

The winds will stir dangerously rough waters across the eastern Mediterranean Sea.

“Seas this weekend can build to 3-5 meters (10-16 feet) south of Crete and the waters offshore of southwestern Turkey,” Roys said. “Some of the highest seas can reach 7 meters (22 feet).”

Winds driving those waters onshore can lead to moderate coastal flooding at the south-facing coastal communities.

Away from Crete and southwestern Turkey, downpours can lead to more localized flooding across southern Greece, western Turkey and coastal Bulgaria into Monday.

Even if flash flooding does not ensue in Athens and Istanbul, downpours can trigger flight delays and slowdowns on roads. Drivers will face reduced visibility and a heightened risk of vehicles hydroplaning when travelling at highway speeds.