Written by by Staff Writer at CNN
A blast of 105-mph winds that pummeled Turkey sent 600,000 people fleeing from their homes on Friday. At least six people were killed and 52 others were injured, the Turkey Meteorological Service reported.
The strong winds, which have also battered neighboring Iraq, Turkey’s southeast and Bulgaria, injured dozens of people in the Balkans alone, according to media reports.
“Due to the extreme wind conditions on September 28, 2020, we have received huge numbers of calls from the people,” said Irfan Gurkan, head of the region’s emergency response organization.
The winds were so strong that some cell phones were knocked out of service, preventing people from making contact with authorities.
Mild temperatures in the neighborhood of 90 degrees Fahrenheit combined with the strong winds made for what the weather service described as “dangerous” driving conditions.
According to CNN meteorologist Judson Jones, it’s likely Turkey will experience another storm-driven power surge.
“The reason for that is because back in May 2015 a tropical depression in the northwest Pacific caused a dramatic spike in a somewhat rare phenomenon called the ‘mini-tornado.’ This is actually the result of powerful high-pressure systems speeding offshore and pushing the warm tropical air away from the southeastern US,” Jones said.
“When it reaches the cooler waters of the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, it generates winds that can resemble tornadoes.”
The storm likely caused significant damage to homes and roads in southeastern Turkey, according to CNN’s Sultan Kulus.
Turkish media reported that “more than 600,000 people were affected. More than 60 fires and 35 houses were destroyed.”
The Turkish Meteorological Service tweeted Friday that the winds were believed to be caused by a “tropical wave” over the Black Sea.
According to CNN’s National Weather Center, four straight days of erratic winds have formed a high-pressure system over the Black Sea that has dumped as much as 2 feet of rain and caused heavy winds in the Balkans.
Russia also reported heavy rainfall and strong winds earlier this week that affected 65 people, including 28 in Dagestan.