29 September 2017
Rize, Turkey – an extreme rainfall event yesterday triggered landslides and flash floods
The Rize area of Turkey yesterday suffered an extreme rainfall event. At the moment details are quite sketchy – the Watchers reports that:
At least one person has died after heavy rain caused major flash floods and landslides in the Rize region of northeastern Turkey, on September 28, 2017.
The person who died was identified in reports as a 40-year-old, Songul Tolan. The incident is reported to have happened in the village of Gurpınar, near Cayeli.
Weather stations in the region recorded 150 mm (5.9 inches) of rain within 6 hours.
There are some very dramatic videos online showing the effects, most notably the large landslide captured in this recording:-
This appears to be a large, rapid, potentially damaging landslide, but I can find no further details as yet. I have tried to improve a still from the video:
NASA 24 hour Global Precipitation Measurement data shows a rain cell sitting over the Rize area of Turkey, and a much larger one (with indicative maximum rainfall levels of over 229 mm in places) to the east in Azerbaijan:
Interestingly, there also reports of landslides in Georgia yesterday, close to the western coast of the Black Sea. The rainfall event that I presume was responsible for this is also visible in the GMP image.
Turkey is of course no stranger to highly destructive landslides, and there are several publications, such as this one, that highlight the risks. In my paper on human losses from landslides (Petley 2010) I noted that Turkey suffered 22 fatal landslides between 2004 and 2010, with 85 resultant fatalities (see my blog post about this work). In the period since there have been many more landslides associated with heavy rainfall.
Petley, D.N. 2012. Global patterns of loss of life from landslides. Geology 40 (10), 927-930.