A rare Mediterranean storm has caused deadly flooding in Greece, and it’s going to continue through at least Saturday. The large area of low pressure was centered over Sicily on Wednesday, but Greece was bearing the brunt of the storm.
At least 37 people have been taken to the hospital, according to the BBC, and 15 people are dead.
“The industrial towns of Mandra, Nea Peramos and Megara, west of the capital Athens, were the most affected,” the BBC reported on Thursday. “Many of the dead were elderly people whose bodies were found inside their homes, reports say.”
The storm, named Numa in Europe, has been moving slowly, which has exacerbated the rain and flooding. Another 8 to 16 inches of rain is possible in Greece through Saturday.
Weather Underground’s Bob Henson explains the origin of this storm, and its potential to evolve into something even more uncommon:
When the Atlantic hurricane season begins to quiet down in late October and November, it’s time to cast an eye toward the Mediterranean Sea for “medicanes”–a nickname for storms that develop tropical characteristics just off the coast of southern Europe. Medicanes aren’t considered full-fledged tropical systems, since the waters of the Mediterranean aren’t extensive or warm enough to sustain a true hurricane. And despite the implication embedded in the name, very few medicanes achieve sustained winds as strong as a Category 1 hurricane. However, it’s quite possible for an existing center of low pressure in the Mediterranean to briefly take on tropical characteristics, including a symmetric structure and a small core of warm air.
Numa could become a medicane over the next couple of days. Sea surface temperatures are only around [68 degrees], far too cool for classic hurricane development, but medicanes can still form over such waters if upper-level temperatures are cold enough to make the air unstable.
The last time a medicane formed was around this time last year, and it was named Trixie. The storm maxed out with 50 mph sustained winds.