A potential cyclone will dump more than 150 liters of rain in the Canary Islands between Saturday and Monday | Spain

The Canary Islands have been holding their breath since the beginning of the week began the run run of the possible formation of a cyclone that could affect the islands over the weekend. The State Meteorological Agency (Aemet) began to warn of what could happen on Wednesday, when the body in charge of monitoring tropical cyclones in the Atlantic, the National Hurricane Center (NHC, for its acronym in English), estimated at a 50% chance that a tropical wave that was brewing in West Africa would transform into a cyclone. This Friday, the percentage has increased to 80%, both in the short term, just two days, and within the next five, for which Aemet has published a special cyclone warning on the islands from Saturday to Monday. Between the three days, more than 150 liters per square meter can accumulate on some islands where, where it rains the most, an average of 15 are collected throughout the month of September.

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It was a wave that since the beginning of the week had been moving from the interior of the African continent towards its western coast, from where it was feared that it would reach the Atlantic, strengthen and organize itself thanks to the fuel provided by waters that were too warm until it became in a cyclone —a term that encompasses tropical depressions, tropical storms and hurricanes depending on the strength of their winds from 60 to 120 kilometers per hour—.

On Thursday, the disturbance was already located on the coast of Senegal and the NHC foresaw, for the second consecutive day, an intensification, for which Aemet issued an informative note, which this Friday has raised to the rank of special warning. The probability that it would evolve into a tropical depression was then 60% in both two and five days, and that it would take the path to the north-northwest, parallel to the African coast.

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The @NHC_Atlantic has just updated and increases the probability of tropical cyclone formation to 80% in the next 48/120 hours.

It seems almost certain that it is a tropical depression, and it remains to be seen if it intensifies to a tropical storm, which is less likely. pic.twitter.com/A03MjKVyha

– JJ González Alemán (@glezjuanje) September 23, 2022

Today this possibility is even more real, since the wave is a large zone of low pressure between the islands of Cape Verde and the African coast. As detailed by Aemet in its notice, “there is a high probability – 70% at half past one in the afternoon, when Aemet has issued the notice, 80% one hour later, in the latest NHC update – that it will organize and ends up becoming a tropical cyclone that moves north at about 15 kilometers per hour and approaches the Canary Islands” between Saturday 24 and Monday 26, although it considers “very unlikely that it will directly impact the archipelago”.

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Thus, the main threat to the Canary Islands is not its winds – a tropical depression generates sustained winds of 62 kilometers per hour, at 63 and 118 it becomes a tropical storm and, after 119, a hurricane – but water falling into the seas. The agency expects “widespread, intense and persistent rainfall, accompanied by storms.”

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As of Saturday at noon, the agency specifies, 60 liters per square meter can accumulate in 12 hours in numerous locations in the western islands, for which yellow warnings have been activated – the lowest level of a scale of three-. Sunday will be the worst day. The rains will intensify, which can be very strong, up to 30 liters in just one hour, with accumulations of 100 liters every 12 hours on all the islands, except Lanzarote and Fuerteventura where up to 40 liters are forecast every 12 hours. The warning level rises to orange, the second level of the Meteoalert system, on all the islands except Lanzarote and Fuerteventura, where it is yellow.

These precipitations “would be maintained during the first half of Monday, to begin to decrease during the afternoon.” According to the agency’s calculations, it is probable that during these three days more than 150 liters will accumulate in some points of the western islands and Gran Canaria. However, there is still a lot of uncertainty about its effects and the worst scenarios multiply these water estimates by three and even by four.

These amounts of water in just three days are outrageous for what usually rains in the Canary Islands. As detailed by Rubén del Campo, spokesman for Aemet, on average throughout the month of September only seven liters per square meter fall in Santa Cruz de Tenerife; in La Laguna, where more, about 15; just three at El Hierro airport; 12 at the La Palma aerodrome, two in Fuerteventura and Lanzarote and nine in Gran Canaria.

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“Given that the probable tropical depression is not expected to pass over the Canary Islands, the wind will not be a generalized adverse factor” nor will there be a maritime storm, but strong or very strong gusts of wind from the south may occur in the western islands, as well as sea ​​of ​​wind with waves around two meters in those same areas.

At the moment, the phenomenon has no name, the NHC names these phenomena when they reach the tropical storm stage. Currently, the organism has three disturbances under study, one already converted into tropical depression nine in the south of the Antilles and, of the remaining two, the one with the greatest potential to do so is that of the Canary Islands. The first to take the step would be Hermine. The next one, which could be the Canary Islands, would receive the name of Ian.

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