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Rare hurricane-like "medicane" developing in Mediterranean

Meteorologists are monitoring a cluster of thunderstorms over the Mediterranean that could form into what some are calling a "medicane" — or Mediterranean hurricane. According to Met Office, the U.K.'s weather service, radar shows the thunderstorms were close to Cyprus, an island nation near Turkey.

Such storms are "incredibly rare this far east in the Mediterranean," according to Met Office, which warned of flash flooding and rough seas.

Medicanes are similar to tropical systems in the Atlantic but are typically weaker, with tropical depression-like winds or low-end hurricane force winds, according to CBS News contributing meteorologist Jeff Berardelli.

Medicanes occur every few years across the Mediterranean basin, but are much more common in the western part of the region, Berardelli said.

In 2016, a medicane hit the island of Crete, according to Met Office, and in 2017, a cyclone with tropical storm-like characteristics formed in the Mediterranean and was also called a medicane. That storm soon lost its hurricane-like appearance, but did cause flooding in Greece and parts of southern Europe.

Since the air is drier in the eastern Mediterranean, medicanes are less common there and usually don't cause much wind damage, according to Berardelli. However, these storms can cause flooding, which the land in this region is not used to. 

The developing medicane is forecast to make landfall on Saturday, dropping about one to four inches of rain in eastern Egypt and parts of Israel, Berardelli said. That is a lot of rain for the desert, considering the average annual rainfall in Cairo is about an inch. The storm will hit the coast just north of Cairo, and some areas will see a year's worth of rain in a day. 

Cairo and other Egyptian cities have already received devastating rainfall this week, with severe flooding causing at least 11 deaths, the Associated Press reported.

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