Thousands Dead in Wake of Storm Daniel in Libya

Satellite Image of Storm Daniel moving acorss Libya

A storm system that moved southeast from the Mediterranean Sea across Libya caused heavy rains which burst two dams which set-off a 7 meter (23 ft) wall of water which destroyed large parts of Derna, Liby this past weekend. The disaster was caused, in part, by old and crumbling infrastructure as much as the storm itself.  As of Thursday it was estimated that the flooding killed at least 8,000 people and the eastern Libyan city of Derna was the worst hit where there remains at least 10,000 still missing according to local officials.  The two dams that burst on Monday were built around half a century ago, between 1973 and 1977.

The extreme rainfall on Sunday was brought by a system called “Daniel” which swept southeastward from the Mediterranean had subtropical characteristics and has been referred to as a “Medicane”.  Daniel dumped more than 16 inches (414 mm) of rainfall in 24 hours to Al-Bayda, a city west of Derna. Derna has been prone to flooding in the past with at least five deadly floods since 1942. The most recent occurred in 2011.

Before and After Image of Flooding in Derma

















The lack of any warnings added to the disaster as there was no operating weather service that could have issued warnings

Ocean Weather Services


About Fred Pickhardt

I am a marine meteorologist and sailed briefly with American Export Lines in the Far East trade after graduating from State University of New York Maritime College. I have extensive experience in weather analysis, weather forecasting, optimum ship routing, vessel performance evaluations and forensic weather event reconstructions. I founded Ocean Weather Services and as Owner and Chief Consultant currently provide optimum ship routing services and forensic marine weather reports to the maritime industry.
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