Tropical storm changes course on way to Turkey
A man takes a photograph during bad weather at the port of Rafina, east of Athens, on Thursday, Sept. 27, 2018. Severe weather warnings remain in effect around Greece, halting ferry services and prompting school closures, and in Turkey's west. AP Photo/Thanassis Stavrakis
Also dubbed “Medicane” as a combination of the words "Mediterranean" and "hurricane", which it was earlier predicted to turn into, the storm brought torrential rain to the southwestern tip of Greece’s Peloponnese region on Sept. 29 as winds of up to 90 kph (55 mph) were reported in the area.
The storm was expected to roll toward the Greek and Turkish islands in the Aegean Sea and Turkey’s west coast on Sept. 30. Its change of course toward a land mass prevented it from hitting Turkey as a hurricane, which would be a first in modern history, according to local media reports.
Turkish officials, who were earlier concerned about coastal areas from the western metropolis of İzmir to southwestern resorts, issued multiple warnings on Sept. 29 to warn northern Aegean towns, too.
Several sports events scheduled for the weekend were cancelled in İzmir and boats were banned from leaving the harbors of popular resorts including Kuşadası and İzmir.
Turkey’s state-run Meteorological General Directorate said in a statement on Sept. 29 that the latest models predicted heavy rainfall and storm surge not only in İzmir, Aydın and Muğla, but also in northwestern provinces of Balıkesir, Çanakkale and Edirne.
Winds of up to 100 kph are expected in northern Aegean and Turkish provinces will receive as much as 75 kg of rain per square meter, according to the statement. It also advised citizens to follow the situation as tropical storms can suddenly change course and speed.
Recalling the heatwaves formed due to climate change, Hasan Çukur, head of Dokuz Eylül University’s geography department, told the state-run Anadolu Agency on Sept. 29 that such storms which are usually seen near the Equator will now be seen in a wider region.
“The more the temperature rises across the world, higher will be the chances of these storms in Turkey,” Çukur added.
“We have taken all necessary measures in coordination with all relevant institutions such as police, gendarmerie, coast guard and fire department,” Mehmet Türköz, district governor of Didim in Turkey’s Aegean province of Aydın said.
“We hope that we will get through this weekend without any damage,” he added.
The agency also warned on storm surge, disruptions on air, land and sea transportation as well as damage to the roofs plus falling of weak-rooted trees.
The storm is expected to end on Oct. 1.