I can't find any examples, has it just never happened before or is it impossible because of environmental factors?


2 Answers 2


Apart from the fact that only a few tropical cyclones follow a more southerly route (a list bellow) after going around the North Atlantic, I think the main problem is that tropical cyclones would weaken significantly after landfall in the Iberian Peninsula. An example of this is Hurricane Raphael in 2012. Source weather.unisys.com Source Weather.unisys.com.

There is no "easy" path from the Atlantic into the Mediterranean for a system the size of a tropical cyclone. Other examples that followed a similar path but never made it the Mediterranean: Gordon (2006), Jeanne (1998), Ivan (1998), Frances (1992), Bob (1991), Arlene (1987), Chloe (1967), Carol (1965), Dolly (1953).

While the cyclones at the point of approaching the Iberian Peninsula are still tracked as tropical depressions, their characteristics are often similar to other extra-tropical storms.

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    $\begingroup$ Did many of those storms retain tropical characteristics while approaching Europe or are they generally extra-tropical by that point (particularly the ones recurving closer to Europe that don't stray too far north)? $\endgroup$
    – casey
    Aug 26, 2015 at 17:37
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    $\begingroup$ I tried to answer this question in the edit, but I feel these storms are probably too infrequent to be able to generalize. $\endgroup$
    – arkaia
    Aug 26, 2015 at 19:22
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    $\begingroup$ @arkaia And now Storm Daniel $\endgroup$
    – gansub
    Sep 15 at 2:12

Mediterranean tropical cyclones are extremely rare but do occur. These are not Atlantic type hurricanes, they are typically not the product of a hot African tropical depression. The most recent event was in November 7, 2014 3.

As for Atlantic basic hurricanes, it would seem nearly impossible. The normal path of the storm leading it eastwards would be affected by the Gulf stream and North Atlantic Drift and would carry the storm north east.
Gulf Stream

Typical wind patterns along the subtropics also would carry a storm trending east to the North and East.

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  1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mediterranean_tropical-like_cyclone

  2. http://www.weather.com/storms/hurricane/news/most-bizarre-hurricane-tropical-storm-cyclone-locations-20130829#/8

  3. http://www.wunderground.com/blog/JeffMasters/comment.html?entrynum=2854

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    $\begingroup$ Ocean currents are going to have an effect on storm intensity (via SST differences) but they are not involved in the steering of hurricanes. Atlantic hurricane curvature to the north and then northeast are due to flow around the Bermuda High and the westerly mid-lattiude flow. Once they get headed back east they also tend to lose tropical characteristics and undergo extratropical transition (and can actually strengthen before hitting Europe as mid-latitude cyclones). $\endgroup$
    – casey
    Aug 26, 2015 at 17:30

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