Medicane over the Mediterranean Sea

Medicane over the Mediterranean Sea

26 October 2016 21:00 UTC–31 October 15:00 UTC

Medicane over the Mediterranean Sea
Medicane over the Mediterranean Sea

In late October 2016 both Meteosat-10 and Metop 'saw' a Medicane that formed over the Ionian Sea.

Last Updated

26 January 2022

Published on

26 October 2016

By Scott Bachmeier (CIMSS Blog), Jochen Kerkmann and Djordje Gencic (EUMETSAT)

Between 28–31 October a compact Tropical-like Cyclone (TLC), also known as a Medicane (MEDIterranean hurriCANE), moved across the Mediterranean. These type of storms appear between September and January and bring with them gusty winds and heavy rain.

 Meteosat-10 Airmass RGB, 31 Oct 05:00 UTC
Figure 1: Meteosat-10 Airmass RGB, 31 Oct 05:00 UTC

Initially, on 26–27 October a cut-off low moved from northern to southern Italy, triggering deep convective storms along the Italian west coast. On 28 October, a new PV anomaly arrived from Hungary. This new PV anomaly crossed the Adriatic Sea on 28 October at O4:00 UTC and then quickly moved to Sicily and further to Tunisia and Algeria.

At the same time, the Medicane started to develop in the area south of Sicily (just east of Malta) in the area of the old PV anomaly. These various weather developments could be seen in the Meteosat-9 Airmass imagery, Figure 1 (above right) and the Meteosat-9 animation from 26 October 21:00 UTC to 31 October 06:00 UTC

On 29 October, the Medicane got stronger staying east of Malta. Finally, on 30 October it moved eastward towards Greece.

The eye structure of the Medicane could be best seen at 04:00 UTC on 30 October.

The Meteosat-10 infrared imagery (Figure 2 and animation) showed the system as it developed over the Ionian Sea between Italy and Greece, moved southwestward, then turned to the east, eventually passing near Crete on 31 October. It was reported to have producing a wind gust to 96 km/h at Chania’s Souda Airport and caused some wind and water damage.

 Met-10, 30 October, 12:00 UTC
Figure 2: Met-10 Infrared, 30 October, 12:00 UTC. Full Resolution.
Download animation
, 28 Oct 05:15 UTC–31 Oct 06:30 UTC
 Met-10, 30 October, 12:00 UTC
Figure 3: Met-10 Visible, 30 October, 12:00 UTC. Full Resolution.
Download animation
, 28 Oct 06:00 UTC–31 Oct 15:00 UTC

The Meteosat-10 Visible imagery (Figure 3 and animation) provides a more detailed look at the structure of the storm during the daylight hours of those four days.

 Met-10, 30 October, 12:00 UTC
Figure 4: Met-10 Natural Colour RGB with MSLP overlaid, 30 October, 12:00 UTC. (Credit: EUMeTrain). Full Resolution
 Terra, 30 October, 09:30 UTC
Figure 5: Terra MODIS Natural Color RGB, 30 October, 09:30 UTC. (Credit: NASA). Full Resolution

The Meteosat-10 Natural Colour RGB with the analysis overlaid (Figure 4) and the MODIS Natural Color RGB (Figure 5) show the circulation of the system, as a tight spiral in the centre. On Figure 4 the Medicane can be clearly seen surrounded by more benign weather conditions.

 ASCAT 25 km wind product, 30 October.
Figure 6: ASCAT 25 km wind product, 28-30 October.

The winds speeds of the system can be seen on the ASCAT 25 km wind products from 28–30 October (Figure 6 and animated gif). The surface wind circulation of the Medicane reached around 50 knots (the black markers signify the higher winds).


Related content

Scott's full analysis of the Medicane (CIMSS Blog)
Extreme weather on Crete due to Mediterranean tropical-like cyclone (Chania Post)
Crete – Extreme weather warning: Mediterranean tropical-like cyclone Oct 31/2016 (Keep Talking Greece)
Last weekend’s bad weather now classified as a tropical storm (The Malta Independent)

Previous case studies

Medicane over Italy (2 Dec 2014)
Medicane Qendresa hits Malta and Sicily (7 Nov 2014)
Medicane over lower Adriatic Sea (17 April 2012)
Development of a tropical storm in the Mediterranean Sea (8 Nov 2011)