The extratropical cyclone Ballos reaches the Mediterranean: this is the risk for Spain

After the passage of the Athina storm, whose influence was noted on the Mediterranean side of the Peninsula and the Balearic Islands, the coasts of Greece, southern Italy, the Balkans and North Africa are battered by an extratropical cyclone named Storm Ballos. This phenomenon has the ability to become a ‘Mediterranean hurricane’ or Medicane (‘Mediterranean hurricane’), as happened with cyclone Ianos about a year ago.

Spain is largely protected by the anticyclonic blockade that has dominated Western Europe for weeks, and high pressures will prevent the bulk of Ballos from going beyond Corsica and Sardinia. The State Meteorological Agency (Aemet) It does not foresee beyond some weak and isolated rainfall in areas of the peninsular coast, more likely in the Valencian Community and Murcia, and less in Catalonia.

However, the wind will be a problem: Aemet puts On alert to the Strait and Trafalgar due to risk (yellow warning) due to coastal phenomena as a result of the strong Levante winds with force 7. Friday they are expected showers and storms in the north and east of the Balearic Islands, as well as in the central coast of Catalonia. On the other hand, an Atlantic front arrives from the northwest, which will bring rainfall and “maybe a storm”, more likely as the day progresses.

The anticyclone will therefore keep Ballos at a distance from Spain, while the Atlantic front does have the opportunity to change the arid trend of this month of October. “Throughout the week, new fronts are likely to enter from the northwest giving rise to rainfall in the regions of that area, mainly in the Galician community. Later and until the end of the thirties if it rains it will be sporadically so in almost all of Spain the situation will be highly stable, except for Galicia and other areas of the northern third “, explains José Antonio Maldonado, Meteored’s Director of Meteorology.

More and more medicanes

A ‘medicane’ is a cyclone of characteristics tropical that occurs in the Mediterranean with gusts of wind of up to 200km / h, as happened with the Ianos case in September 2020. The phenomenon owes its name to the similarities with Atlantic hurricanes, which are called tropical cyclones.

Medicanes are one of the main threats facing the region, and a real risk for Spain. An investigation developed by scientists from the University of Castilla-La Mancha (UCLM), in collaboration with Princeton University and the United States Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory (NOAA), posed them as “a serious risk for highly inhabited areas from the coasts “.

Although the origin of these cyclones is not tropical, it has suffered what is known as tropical transition over the warmed waters of the Mediterranean. During this process it acquires certain characteristics similar to those of an Atlantic hurricane, such as the existence of a warm core. However, the medicanes observed so far have been smaller and more destructive than those plaguing the Caribbean and North America.

But this will change, since the phenomenon is produced by the warming of Mediterranean waters, something that occurs much faster than the oceans globally. It is one of the basins most influenced by climate change and the warm anomalies are very prominent. Thus, the water temperature is currently higher in the central Mediterranean, where medicane is developed, than along the Spanish coasts.

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