Israel, region braces for rare ‘medicane’ storm

Flood warnings have been issued in southern Israel. Popular hiking trails and tourist spots in the Judean desert are also being closed.

A general view shows seagulls in Ashdod port as a storm approaches Israel's shores January 4, 2018 (photo credit: AMIR COHEN/REUTERS)
A general view shows seagulls in Ashdod port as a storm approaches Israel's shores January 4, 2018
(photo credit: AMIR COHEN/REUTERS)
Israel is expecting to be hit by an unusual and extreme rare tropical storm over the weekend, forecasters say.
The extreme weather is expected to bring heavy rainfall, flood and strong winds across Israel and parts of Egypt.
Medicanes have a mix of tropical and non-tropical qualities and the UK Met Office said on Twitter that the potential medicane is “something that is incredibly rare this far east in the Mediterranean.”

The term, according to AccuWeather, is a combination of the two words "Mediterranean" and "hurricane."
"Although it is not official terminology, the name separates the regional differences that these storms have, compared to tropical storms, cyclones or hurricanes," the weather website explained.
The website's meteorologist, Tyler Roys, said that medicanes have been reported more often in the last 20 years.
"The last third of the year, essentially fall and earlier winter, is when we see them," Roys said.
Flood warnings have been issued in southern Israel. Popular hiking trails and tourist spots in the Judean desert are also being closed.
The Gaza Strip is preparing, too.
On Friday, the state declared a state of emergency that will remain in effect until Saturday evening, local media reported.
As of late Thursday afternoon Eastern time, the medicane spanned a 300-mile width across the extreme eastern Mediterranean Sea and was parked roughly 100 miles south-southwest of Cyprus, The Washington Post described.