I presume, that some of you may have read or heard about the big storm and several tornadoes that hit Antalya on January 25 this year and again a week later and lasted for a few days? It was an exceptional storm that hit Antalya city and in the western districts especially (as in Kumluca, Kas, Demre and Fineke).
I sat safe and sound at home in Denmark, so I cannot say, that I’ve been in the middle of it. Unfortunately, I am almost tempted to say, because I’m pretty curious and like, when the weather is raging. So at some strange point, I would like to experience it myself.
But that was not the case. Fortunately it is relatively easy to follow, even though you are far away, due to various news sites, social media, etc. Especially on Instagram I saw more videos and pictures from the phenomenal storm. And holy moly it looked wild. Huge waves crashing across the coast, palms and trees torn up, ruined houses, flooded streets and worst of all 3 deaths due to the crashed roof and floods.
We have our own “live reporter” AKA grandfather down there, who afterwards could tell, that the power, the internet, the television and various things had gone for almost a week, due to lightning strikes near the house.
Meter-high waves and major damage:
And he was far from the only one, who was hit. About 229 buildings have been damaged – some where the balconies are torn (!!), but also many roofs that are missing. 140 transformer stations were damaged and caused power cuts in much of Antalya. Large parts of the newly constructed Konyaalti promenade along the beach (just thoroughly renovated last winter / spring) have been damaged by the many giant waves, that hit the coast.
Now I’m a little scared of water, but those waves…. Pooh, they weren’t joking. Several meters high and large enough to be able to reach all the way to the roadway (ie some places about 50 meters into the beach I would believe). If you know the beautiful Konyaalti beach, you probably know, that there is a bit far from the water’s edge, up to the sand, to the high beach promenade and onto the road itself. A pretty wild sight (and really anxiety provoking).
The water is also very deep in the Gulf of Antalya, so when it finally blows, the waves get a lot of speed over the Mediterranean and simply become huge, when they hit. Extremely scary in my world.
With the storm not only hard winds and large waves followed, but also many extremely heavy rainfalls, that flooded many roads and buildings. Several of the large greenhouses outside the city were totally destroyed and many farmers lost their entire earnings, especially with the oranges, tomatoes, eggplants and cucumbers. Already, the prices of vegetables were on the rise, due to massive floods the months before. But now one can only fear, how it will be in the future. I have heard, that several of the large supermarkets are not having eggplants and peppers in their assortment, as the prices will simply be too high for them to earn something.
But back to the tornadoes in Antalya. Now it is not the case, that the city (or area) is specifically known for having neither severe weather nor many tornadoes.
But during the first storm, 5 tornadoes were seen within 3 days. Most over water, but also on land, which is quite unusual.
Although tornadoes are not commonplace in Antalya, it is the South Coast / Mediterranean coast, which is most often affected by tornadoes. On average about 12 a year. The vast majority, however, are over the water and only very rarely does one come across land. Like now .
Major damage to the airport:
And it created a lot of destruction. In addition to the aforementioned damage over land, it went really hard over the airport. 2 aircrafts (of the big ones – a Boing 737 and an Airbus A312-231), a police helicopter, several passenger buses and stairs to the aircrafts, were damaged, as the tornado swept straight through the runway. A bus filled with passengers was overturned and 12 people were injured, allegedly 2 critical. Whole 100 million Turkish lira is the estimated costs due to the havoc.
And then storm no. 2 hit with more tornadoes and gust up to 100 km per hour. Schools and kindergartens in the affected areas closed during the days. And people were advised to stay indoors, leave the cars and look for shelter on the ground floor of the houses. So it looks like tornadoes are something you need to be aware of.
Tornadoes and Turkey:
Turkey is otherwise not known at all for housing many tornadoes. And not at all as powerful and destructive as those you see and hear about in the United States, for example.
From 1818, when one began to register and write about the weather phenomena in the newspapers, and up to 2013, there was approx. 385 tornadoes in Turkey. Most are along the South Coast. Particularly the section between Antalya and Anamur (about 210 km of coastline) can be hit, but also along the west coast and the Aegean, have a little more frequent tornadoes, than the rest of the country and also a bit along the Black Sea coast.
This is due to the fact, that most tornadoes occur over the sea (some are confused with waterspouts). And only quite a few reaches inland.
Non-mesocyclonic tornadoes are them over water called and on land they are called mesocyclonal tornadoes.
F0 to F3 category:
On average, about 45 tornadoes per year are registered nationwide in Turkey. Most over the water occur in Dec. and January and almost none in the summer. They are usually in a category called F0 and F1 (where F3 is the worst) and come most often in the afternoon / early evening. Then you know when to watch 😉
Out of 385 known tornadoes, the last 5 years stand for about 225 of them. I immediately thought that “it is also due to this climate change”, but no … the experts say, that it is simply because we have got better technology to register with, more measurements, better communication and more attention around them. Of course, it’s not something I know, but something I’ve read. You can look here, if you want to double check or just nerd a little …
Fortunately, tornadoes don’t last that long. 30 minutes is the longest recorded. But if they also are 400 meters wide and pave the way 20 km into the country, then it is violent enough. At least that is what has been registered until 2013.
But I’ll bet, that the last round in January turn up for more records. Both the storm and the tornadoes created international publicity and a lot of posture. And we probably haven’t seen the last thing of them….