The Stream, September 22, 2020: Rare ‘Medicane’ Moves Through Greece

The Global Rundown

A rare Mediterranean hurricane sweeps through parts of Greece. Hurricane Teddy is set to move up the United States East Coast. Arctic summer sea ice hits “near-record lows” this year. Tensions between the U.S. and Mexico over Rio Grande water continue to rise. The water supply of thousands has been threatened by a California wildfire.

“It’s going to be an ongoing anxiety issue.” – Jeff Breen, a resident in Boulder Creek, California. The CZU Lightning Complex Fire badly damaged seven and a half miles of water supply lines in northern Santa Cruz County, triggering a Do Not Drink – Do Not Boil water advisory for over 3,000 households in late August. Althought he advisory has been lifted for the majority of homes, residents are still wary of their water supply. Rather than issuing an order that barred the use of any water in impacted Santa Cruz County neighborhoods, the State Board and the San Lorenzo Valley Water district updated notices as time went on. The district is facing an estimated $12 million in repair costs. KAZU

In context: Western Wildfires Damage, Contaminate Drinking Water Systems

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What’s Up With Water – September 21, 2020 – This week’s episode covers protests at the La Boquilla dam in northern Mexico, water projects being considered by the managers of the Panama Canal, and a study out of the United States linking water insecurity and psychological stress.

By The Numbers

3 The number of people found dead as a rare Mediterranean hurricane, or “medicane,” hit areas of Greece over the weekend. Cyclone Ianos churned eastwards overnight Friday and into Saturday, flooding around 5,000 homes, damaging roads. The city of Karditsa was lashed by winds of up to 120 kmh (75 mph) that brought down power lines and triggered landslides. By Saturday evening, the storm had reached the island of Crete, bringing heavy rainfall that flooded streets and properties. Medicanes are often less intense and have a smaller volume than those in the Atlantic and have only been categorized by meteorologists in the past 40 years. Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitostakis has pledged that “all the affected areas will have immediate support.” BBC

90 mph (150 kph) The maximum sustained winds of Hurricane Teddy as it passed just east of Bermuda on Monday. The hurricane was 165 miles (265.5 km) southeast of Bermuda on Monday, moving north at 18 mph (29 kph). The storm knocked out power to more than 200 clients across Bermuda and forced the government to close all air and sea ports, schools and government offices for the second time in a week. AP

Science, Studies, and Reports

U.S. scientists announced on Monday that Arctic summer sea ice melted in 2020 to the second smallest area since records began 42 years ago. Melting sea ice does not directly contribute to rising sea levels as the ice is already on the water, but less ice means less solar radiation is reflected and more is absorbed by the oceans, warming them. Mark Serreze, director of the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) at the University of Colorado Boulder said the ice was reached a “near-record low” this year, adding that the world is “headed towards a seasonally ice-free Arctic Ocean.” National Snow & Ice Data Center

On the Radar

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott escalated the dispute between the U.S. and Mexico over water rights when he asked the Trump administration to intervene last week, warning that Mexico was running out of time to meet its obligations. According to the bi-national treaty that was signed in 1944, both countries share water that flows in the Rio Grande. Mexico owes the United States, mainly Texan farmers, almost a year’s worth of water by October 24, according to the treaty. Mexican farmers have protested the treaty, asking Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador to renegotiate the treaty. He has maintained that Mexico will abide by the original terms of the agreement. El Paso Times

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