Catastrophic floods in Greece amid an extreme weather pattern in Europe

Potentially catastrophic flooding events are unfolding in Greece, Turkey and Bulgaria amid an extreme weather pattern in Europe that is bringing exceptional heat over much of the continent and has just led to a deadly flood in Spain.

The severe flooding in Greece follows a wave of deadly summer wildfires, which scientists fear will become more common with human-caused climate change.

Already unusual amounts of rain have fallen in parts of Greece since Monday, and meteorologists expect total rainfall of at least 20 to 30 inches in some locations through Wednesday from what the National Meteorological Service in Southeast Europe calls the Storm Daniel. A man was killed and cars were washed away in the Greek port city of Volos, according to Reuters. Photographs And videos Posts on social media show that the city’s streets have turned into raging rivers Thessaly region And Skiathosa small Greek island, flooded vehicles and damaged roads.

The Associated Press reported that at least four other people died in Turkey and Bulgaria, which also experienced floods.

“This could become one of the largest flood disasters in Europe, surpassing the floods of Western Europe in July 2021,” Jonathan Wiley, research meteorologist at ETH Zurich, said. He said on Xformerly known as Twitter.

Similar scenes were witnessed over the weekend in Spain, where heavy rains shut down transport and forced helicopter rescues from rooftops. At least three people were reported dead and several others missing in Toledo, while several subway lines were temporarily closed on Monday in Madrid. Castile-La Mancha, Catalonia and Valencia also recorded heavy rain and hail.

And extreme flooding and heat are associated with a stagnant weather pattern that could make human-caused climate change more common.

The heat dome is parked over western Europe

And in the middle of what is known as the “masking pattern” is a heat dome over western Europe, spreading record warmth across much of the continent. Heat domes are sprawling areas of high pressure that can trap heat beneath them for days, weeks, or — in the case of the US Southern Hemisphere this summer — even months.

The low pressure that formed to the west of the heat dome caused severe flooding in Spain, while the low pressure area to the east of the thermodome helped draw moisture from the Mediterranean Sea to feed the floods in Greece. Like most of the world’s oceans, water temperatures in the Mediterranean are now warmer than average, which can lead to stronger storms and heavy rains on land.

The heat began to build in Western Europe on Sunday. More than 200 monthly temperature records were broken in France on Monday, with temperatures in many locations soaring to nearly 95 degrees Fahrenheit (35 degrees Celsius) and above. About a dozen French cities also experienced record temperature drops, with overnight temperatures dropping to just around 70 to 75 degrees. In Spain, the low temperature on Monday in Lleida dropped to just 74.3 degrees, an all-time record low temperature for the city.

Temperatures this week could reach 104 degrees in France and 91 degrees in the south of England, after London reached 86 degrees on Monday. several Record highs for September were recorded on Tuesday in the UK. Ireland, Switzerland, Belgium and the Netherlands are among the other countries expecting record temperatures this week.

Amazing amounts of rain are expected in Greece

The Greek Meteorological Authority expected that Thessaly, Sporades, central and eastern Stria, northern Evia and the Peloponnese would be subject to heavy rain, in addition to frequent hail and lightning. Strong winds are expected near the Aegean Sea. The English translation of the “red” alert displayed on the agency’s website warned people to “take precautionary measures, be vigilant and act on the advice of the appropriate authorities”.

Zagora has already scored an incredible goal 21 inches (528 mm) of rain in just 10 hours. other rain totals Including so far 29.7 inches in Zagora — record one day For Greece, if confirmed, 21.4 inches in Portaria and 11.4 inches in Volos. The storm too Unleash the lightning siege And Water cannons.

Some models project that central Greece will receive more than 30 inches of rain, which is reminiscent of the hurricane flood disasters in the US from Harvey in Texas in 2017 and Florence in North Carolina in 2018.

“If these predictions are correct, it would be a truly catastrophic flood in Greece,” said Christopher Castro, a hydrologist at the University of Arizona. He said on X.

Fueled by the warm waters of the Mediterranean, Tropical Storm Daniel could become what is known as a “medical cyclone” or tropical cyclone that sometimes forms over the sea. The storm will continue to batter Greece with rain and wind until it drifts south towards the northern coast of Libya on Thursday and Friday. Long-term models show it eventually migrates east-northeast across the Mediterranean Sea toward Turkey early next week.

Floods and fires fueled by climate change

The floods come on the heels of a historic forest fire that raged for more than two weeks in northern Greece before it was brought under control. The fire killed 20 people and burned more than 200,000 acres, larger than New York City, making it the largest fire on record in the European Union.

The combination of record heat, dry weather and winds fueled wildfires in Greece all summer long. Not only did the heat help fuel the fires, it also made them more difficult to put out by evaporating the water from the planes flying overhead. Areas that are burning due to wildfires are at increased risk of floods and mudslides because there are fewer trees and vegetation that absorb precipitation, and in some cases burned soil can block water.

Scientists say climate change is increasing the risk of wildfires in Europe and the world due to higher temperatures and severe drought conditions.

Jason Samino contributed to this report.

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