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11/14/2007

Observations of the Black Sea


The storm that moved over the Black Sea and sank 10 ships was an UNSUALLY powerful one for the Black Sea. The storm formed over the Mediterranean Sea along the tail end of a very strong cold front. This front was the same cold front that pushed through the North Sea on Friday, bringing winds near hurricane force, flooding in southeast England, and a storm surge over 10 feet high to the coast of the Netherlands. The new storm fed off the relatively warm waters of the Mediterranean and pushed eastward across Greece and Turkey, intensifying to 980 mb as it struck the Ukraine's Crimean Peninsula late in the morning Sunday. Simperopol, Ukraine, on the tip of the Crimean Peninsula, measured sustained winds of 54 mph, gusting to 72 mph, on Sunday afternoon. The pressure bottomed out at 980 mb. Kerch, Ukraine, on the west side of Kerch Strait, recorded sustained winds of 45 mph and a minimum pressure of 988 mb as the storm blew through. On the other side of the strait, in Anapa, Russia, sustained winds of 47 mph, gusting to 65 mph were observed. Waves up to 18 feet high buffeted the waters in the Kerch Strait. This was too much for the Volganeft-139 oil tanker, which was designed for river travel.
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