Extreme rainfall in Greece
- Sophie Colvine
- 2023 Season
This week's record rainfall in Greece could reduce the total volume of tomatoes processed in the country by 10%.
This week, and especially between Tuesday 6 and Thursday 8 September, Central Greece has been hit by an extreme weather phenomenon with amounts of rainfall of up to 600 to 800 mm in 24 hours in Magnesia. According to meteorologist Dr Tsatrafyllias on Wednesday 7 September “the rainfall of the last 24 hours in the area, is what rainy London gets in one year.”
According to Meteo.gr, the heaviest daily total in the country as of 8:45pm local time on Tuesday was 754 mm. This was the heaviest daily rainfall on record in Greece, beating the previous record of 644.7 mm from September 2020. A low pressure system named Storm Daniel developed over the Ionian Sea, to the west of Greece, earlier this week. The system has been drawing copious moisture from abnormally warm water in the Mediterranean Sea and converting it into thick clouds, heavy rain and thunderstorms over the Balkan Peninsula.
The Thessalia plain has been transformed into a lake and many towns and villages are isolated and are being evacuated using boats, with some loss of life. The damage to networks, roads, infrastructure and of course the crops, including tomatoes, is big. It is expected that all the unharvested crops including tomatoes and cotton will be lost.
All tomato processing factories in the Centre-North of the country are now closed, and some may not reopen for the season. More information will be released next week as the full extent of the damage is assessed as water recedes, but it is expected that about 10% of the total tomato crop could be lost. The previous forecast for the 2023 season in Greece was 430.000 tonnes.
WPTC crop update as of 1 September 2023