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Potent System Targets Sardinia to Italy, Southeastern France

By By Kristina Pydynowski, senior meteorologist
October 04, 2015, 11:27:32 AM EDT

A potent system that flirted with "medicane" status on Thursday will continue to threaten Sardinia, southeastern France and Italy with heavy rain, strong gusty winds and rough surf to end the week.

A “medicane” is a rare tropicallike cyclone that forms in the Mediterranean Sea whose formation is similar to that of a subtropical system in the Atlantic Ocean. “Medicanes” are typically small cyclones with a short lifespan.

These cyclones originate from non-tropical systems, then they feed off the warm waters of the Mediterranean and take on tropical characteristics.


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The current system flirted with "medicane" status on Thursday as it showed some tropical characteristics. However, interaction with the mountainous terrain of Sardinia and Corsica will continue to hinder further development and strengthening.

That does not mean that the system will not still be capable of producing adverse weather.

Heavy rain and thunderstorms will spread across northern Sardinia and Corsica to southeastern France and coastal northwestern Italy, stated AccuWeather Meteorologist Tyler Roys.

“There will be widespread rainfall totals of 25 to 75 mm (1 to 3 inches) with the highest amounts in the higher terrain,” he said. “This can lead to additional flash flooding and mudslides.”

More localized drenching showers and thunderstorms, along with an isolated flash flood threat, will spread to Sicily and western Italy into Friday. This includes Rome and Naples.

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In addition to the rain, the system will kick up wind gusts of 65 to 95 kph (40 to 60 mph) in and around Sardinia and Corsica. The strongest winds are likely west of these islands.

“That will lead to rough seas and minor coastal flooding at high tide,” continued Roys.

Weather Outlook for Europe


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Winds gusted to nearly 100 kph (62 mph) at Capo Mele, Italy, earlier Thursday.

The system will significantly weaken by the start of the weekend as it dots Italy with scattered showers and thunderstorms on Saturday. Another non-tropical system will bring similar weather to most of France this day.

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