Medicane, these are the hurricanes of the Mediterranean.


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Medicane, there are hurricanes in the Mediterranean as well. When we think about the danger of the sea, the first place that appears to our mind is the Ocean, because of its vastness, grandeur and the destructive weather phenomena we are used to seeing on television. In the opinion of many great sailors, however, it is the Mediterranean Sea that is the most unpredictable (and therefore, potentiallydangerous) sea, so even when sailing as a family, it is worthwhile to be supported by a team of experts.

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Medicanes, that’s what they are and how they are formed

With Meteomed, for example, you can count on a platform with forecasts designed for the Mediterranean and have the opportunity to consult, even on a daily basis, with a team of professional meteorologists. Also because, apart from the routine ne cessities of sailing (storm warnings, high winds, rough seas), there are some very dangerous meteomarine phenomena.


The Numa medicane (opposite), which hit the coast of Greece in the summer of 2017, killed at least 20 people and caused flooding and landslides that destroyed more than 1,000 homes.

You may not know it, but even the Mare Nostrum has its hurricanes: the term medicane (short for Mediterranean Hurricane) is used to refer to a low-pressure systemand characterized by heavy rainfall and intense winds in which a small, well-delineated “eye” can be recognized (another name given to these pseudo cyclones is TLC, ‘tropical like cyclone’).

“Whirlpools of this kind are not uncommon in our basin, one of the last in terms of time, ‘Vega,’ dates back to Nov. 7, 2014 and affected the arm of the sea between Malta and Lampedusa. The strongest, however, was ‘Zeo,’ which in December 2005 did a lot of damage and even casualties in Sicily,” Meteomed experts recount. “While they do not reach the strength and size of tropical hurricanes, their similarity in shape is incredible.

Since satellite observations have been available, many cases have been documented. Also between October 4 and 9, 1996, two Mediterranean cyclones involved southern Italy. The strongest, Cornelia, after crossing the Tyrrhenian Sea reached Sicily and Calabria bringing intense rainfall and causing extensive damage. Particularly affected were the Aeolian Islands where winds reached gusts of 140 km/h; many boats and yachts sank while intense swells involved the coast of Sicily.”

“Medicanes seem to evolve just like normal hurricanes and draw energy from the warm sea and are the next step up from the (aforementioned) TLCs,” they explain. “Such eddies are usually formed by the insertion over the southern seas of an overhead vortex. Once the vortex is formed, the process of extracting marine energy fluxes increases due to the strengthening of the winds, which are drawn into the depression center. Once the vortex is formed, the main energy at this point comes precisely from the flow of heat and moisture provided by the sea. In fact, they evolve at the sea surface but then tend to diminish once they reach land. Because of the large number of inhabitants that populate the coast, medicanes have a very dangerous potential so a better understanding of these eddies is necessary to be able to reduce social impacts.”



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