Medicane Ianos: Post-Event Geotechnical Extreme Events Reconnaissance

Mediterranean tropical-like cyclones, often referred to as medicanes (a portmanteau of Mediterranean hurricanes) are meteorological phenomena observed over the Mediterranean Sea. On a few rare occasions, some storms have been observed reaching the strength of a Category 1 hurricane. The main societal hazard posed by Medicanes is not usually from destructive winds, but through life-threatening torrential rains and flash floods (

On September 19-22 2020, Medicane Ianos made landfall in Greece with winds exceeding 190 km per hour and precipitation that reached up to 300 mm. The amount of precipitation during this event significantly exceeded, in certain locations, the mean annual precipitation. As a consequence, unprecedented flooding occurred causing significant damage to urban communities, while numerous landslides as well as debris flows occurred in steeper topographies, often impacting rural communities. Several bridges collapsed and river scouring was found to be extensive. Railroads as well as road networks are severely affected.

On the basis of this information, the Geotechnical Extreme Events Reconnaissance (GEER) Association decided to deploy a Phase 1 team. The team leaders are Dimitrios Zekkos ( from the University of California at Berkeley, and George Zalachoris ( from Elxis Group, based in Athens, Greece. Phase 1 is being conducted on the ground by a local collaborative multi-institutional team consisting of Universities (National Technical University of Athens, Democritus University of Thrace, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki), Government Agencies (National Observatory of Athens, General Secretariat for Civil Protection) as well as local Consulting Firms (ElxisGroup, GRID Engineers). The team on the ground is supported by remote sensing groups from NASA, the University of California at Berkeley and the University of Michigan.

The field teams will be generating a Phase 1 report. Stay tuned for more info!

  • GEER
Published 10/11/2020 08:45, updated: 10/11/2020 08:46
George Zalachoris