Catania, 27 October 2021 – The Sicily is in state of emergency. The strong bad weather caused extensive damage to the entire area of the province of Catania, two people died because of the rivers of water and mud in the streets. Fabrizio Curcio, head of the Civil protection, he assured that “the national system is present and there is the utmost attention”, especially in anticipation of the worsening expected for weekend. The fear, this time, is called ‘Medicane‘, Mediterranean hurricane (medirreanean hurricane).
This phenomenon has always existed in the history of meteorology but only since the 1980s, with the first satellite images, have more in-depth studies on its characteristics begun. “They are events very rare – explains Daniel Ingemi, meteorologist Ampro – there are about 1 or 2 per year“.” They are vortices – he continues – which can extend for 200km, and which make it difficult to make predictions “. To breathe a sigh of relief, the Sicilians will have to wait at least next Monday.” At the beginning of next week – says Ingemi – the situation should start improve slowly”.
The concrete risks of a Medicane
What are the consequences of a Mediterranean hurricane? “Hydrogeological instability – answers Ingemi – floods and floods. They can form Where other 3 or 4 meters which, when they hit the coast, cause storm surges that are very difficult to sustain for the cities that develop on the sea “. But a Medicane – explains the expert – may not reach a real hurricane stage.” In this case – explains – i winds they don’t seem to reach the 120 km / h in one minute, the typical times of an urgano. More likely that the bad weather of these days comes to have the characteristics of one subtropical storm“, not to be underestimated anyway.
The precedents on our territory
“The Sicily was hit by the Mediterranean hurricane already in 90’s – continues Ingemi -. Also Sardinia e Calabria, in the past, they were the scene of this event: regions surrounded by Mediterranean Sea, where the typical area of low pressure atmospheric that foretells heavy rainfall “. The range of action of a possible Medicane is very wide: North Africa, Israel, Syria, Turkey, all those countries that are influenced by the Mediterranean climate. And the biggest problems are for the urbanized areas along the coast.
Cyclone Medicane in Greece
It happened last September: the cyclone mainly hit the islands of the Ionian Sea. “The island of Itaca it was devastated. On that occasion we were able to witness a real storm surge“. It is the storm wave: winds and atmospheric depression push the surface of the sea towards the hinterland, so the water level on the coast it rises considerably.
The warming of the sea
The discourse is linked to climate change, in particular to atmospheric heating. “According to some studies – explains Ingemi – it is probable that Mediterranean hurricanes will decrease by frequency, but they will increase of intensity. This is because the water of the seas is warmer, and therefore the energy of the phenomenon is greater “. To understand the extent, it is useful to make a comparison.” Mediterraneo – explains the meteorologist – it has warmed up more than the oceans: it has reached 3 of 4 builds more than the average of the last 30 years. If already 2 degrees more are an anomaly important, 4 degrees more is a fact alarming“.
How the territory changes
“On a morphological level – he explains again Daniel Ingemi – the changes resulting from extreme phenomena occur on a microscale. To see the effects of rising water, which is the real fear in the long term, we need to look to the next 100 years “. To face a future made up of extreme climatic events with more serenity, we need to carry out a better information campaign.” Ingemi concludes – more awareness risk. Let me give you an example: if a road or an underpass is flooded due to heavy rain and I am a motorist equipped with SUVs, I don’t have to think I can pass anyway. Otherwise I end up stuck, and in the worst case I risk dying drowned“.
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