What are medicanes, the hurricanes of the Mediterranean

medicane
The Apollo medicane that brought some provinces in Sicily to their knees

There has been much talk these days about the “Apollo” medicane that has brought Sicily (and specifically the provinces of Messina, Catania, Syracuse and Ragusa) to its knees. We have all realized it by now, even the Mediterranean has its hurricanes, dangerous not only for those ashore, but especially for those who sail.

What are medicanes

But going into detail, do you know what a medicane is? We told you about it some time ago with the help of Meteomed‘s expert meteorologists.

 

medicane
DESTROYING FURY 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.

Like tropical cyclones

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.

Medicane, many documented cases

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.”

Anatomy of a medicane

“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 South Seas of an overhead vortex. Once the vortex is formed, the process of extracting marine energy fluxes increases due to the strengthening of winds, drawn into the depression center.

Having formed the vortex, the main energy at this point comes precisely from the flow of heat and moisture provided by the sea. They indeed evolve on the sea surface but then tend to fade once they reach land. Because of the large number of people who 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.”

 


HELP US KEEP YOU UP TO DATE

The journalists of the Sailing Newspaper, strive every day to ensure quality, up-to-date and correct information about the boating world free of charge through their websites. If you appreciate our work, support us by subscribing to the magazine. The annual subscription costs only 49 euros and we also give you a gift!

DISCOVER THE SAILING NEWSPAPER YOUTUBE CHANNEL

Daily interviews, boat trials, webinars. The whole sail, minute by minute. But on video! CLICK HERE To sign up, it’s free!

SIGN UP FOR OUR NEWSLETTER

To stay up-to-date on all the news from the world of sailing, selected by our editorial staff, sign up for the Sailing Newspaper newsletter! It’s super easy, just enter your email below, agree to the Privacy Policy and click the “Sign Me Up” button. You will then receive on your email, twice a week, the best sailing news! It’s a free service and you can unsubscribe at any time, with no obligation!


Once you click on the button below check your mailbox

Privacy*

 

Condividi:

Facebook
Twitter
WhatsApp

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

Scopri l’ultimo numero

Sei già abbonato?

Ultimi annunci
I nostri social
In evidenza

Può interessarti anche

Divertirsi in barca - Plancetta di poppa

Seven clever ideas for renovating the boat deck in 2023

Best Boat Accessories 2023 – 7 ideas for the deck Seven clever accessories with which to revolutionize life on deck, simplifying operations on board not only while cruising. With these accessories, rest assured that you will have no comfort problems

VIDEO – Adjusting the jib in high winds

Adjusting the jib in high winds is the topic of the twelfth video-episode of SAIL School, in which we discover how to perform a perfect maneuver on a cruising boat. Adjusting the jib in high winds, the options he jib

VIDEO – The life raft, what’s in it

The life raft, is the star of the 11th video-episode of SAIL School, in which we discover how to perform a perfect maneuver on a cruising boat. Life raft, within what limits it must be on board As we saw

Scroll to Top