Mediterranean’s devastating Storm Daniel may be harbinger of storms to come

By Lefteris Papadimas and Nina Chestney

ATHENS/LONDON (Reuters) – Storm Daniel, which wrought devastation throughout the Mediterranean previously week, killed 15 folks in central Greece the place it dumped extra rain than beforehand recorded earlier than sweeping throughout to Libya the place over 2,500 died in an enormous flood.

Because the storm moved alongside the North African coast, Egypt’s authorities sought to calm its fearful residents by telling them Daniel had lastly misplaced its energy. “No must panic!” Al Ahram newspaper wrote in its on-line English-language version.

However world warming means the area could need to brace in future for more and more highly effective storms of this sort, the Mediterranean’s equal of a hurricane often called a “medicane”.

“There’s constant proof that the frequency of medicanes decreases with local weather warming, however the strongest medicanes turn out to be stronger,” mentioned Suzanne Grey from the meteorology division at Britain’s College of Studying, citing a report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Local weather Change.

For Greece, the storm that shaped on Sept. 4 adopted a interval of blazing warmth and wildfires.

In Libya, the city of Derna was deluged by water that flooded down hills right into a wadi, a often dry riverbed, smashing by way of two catchment dams and sweeping away 1 / 4 of the coastal city.

At the least 10,000 folks had been feared lacking, in line with the Worldwide Federation of the Crimson Cross and Crimson Crescent Societies.

Local weather knowledgeable Christos Zerefos, secretary normal of the Academy of Athens, mentioned storm knowledge had not been absolutely compiled but however he estimated the quantity of rain to fall on Libya equalled the 1,000 mm (1 metre) that fell on Thessaly in central Greece in simply two days.

He mentioned it was an “unprecedented occasion” and extra rain drenched the realm than ever recorded since information started within the mid-Nineteenth century.

“We count on such phenomena to occur extra typically,” he added.

However specialists mentioned the affect on international locations across the Mediterranean could be uneven, proving most damaging to these with the least means to organize.

Libya, which has endured greater than a decade of chaos and battle and which nonetheless doesn’t have a central authorities that may attain throughout the nation, is especially in danger.

“The complicated political state of affairs and historical past of protracted battle in Libya pose challenges for growing threat communication and hazard evaluation methods, coordinating rescue operations, and likewise doubtlessly for upkeep of vital infrastructure resembling dams,” mentioned Leslie Mabon, lecturer in environmental techniques at The Open College in Britain.

Earlier than Storm Daniel struck, hydrologist Abdelwanees A. R. Ashoor of Libya’s Omar Al-Mukhtar College had warned that repeated flooding of the wadi posed a menace to Derna.

But even better-resourced Greece struggled to cope with the facility of Storm Daniel. Properties had been swept away, bridges collapsed, roads destroyed, energy strains fell and crops within the fertile Thessaly plain had been worn out.

Greek authorities mentioned on Monday that greater than 4,250 folks had been evacuated from villages and settlements within the area.

(Writing by Edmund Blair; enhancing by Mark Heinrich)

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