Med­i­cane is me­te­o­ro­log­i­cal

Truro Daily News - - Weather - Chief Me­te­o­rol­o­gist Cindy Day

Last Fri­day, a very un­usual weather sys­tem took shape over the Mediter­ranean – a med­i­cane. It be­came fully de­vel­oped late Fri­day and was headed for Crete and Greece. I ex­plained it dur­ing my evening fore­cast video weather up­date at www.weath­er­by­ .

Later that day, a co-worker ac­cused me of mak­ing it up; rest as­sured, it is real. The word is a port­man­teau word de­rived from “Mediter­ranean” and “hur­ri­cane.”

The sys­tem is a trop­i­cal-like cy­clone. Un­like a true trop­i­cal storm, this cy­clone forms in an en­closed area. For that rea­son, the peak strength of a med­i­cane is usu­ally equiv­a­lent to a cat­e­gory 1 hur­ri­cane on the Saf­fir-simp­son scale.

On aver­age one or two of these storms form ev­ery year but here’s a fa­mil­iar re­frain: as sea sur­face tem­per­a­tures con­tinue to rise, so too will the num­ber of med­i­canes.

Last week­end the tem­per­a­ture of the Aegean Sea was above aver­age and that breathed new life into the weak­en­ing med­i­cane as it set its sights on west­ern Turkey.

Mov­ing for­ward, as global air and sea sur­face tem­per­a­tures con­tinue to rise, these rare and un­usual weather events will no doubt – and un­for­tu­nately – be­come more com­mon.

Rare med­i­cane - as it made land­fall in south­ern Greece early Satur­day morn­ing. (WSI)

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