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Genoa Low

The Genoa low is a low-pressure system which develops to the south of the Alps in the region incorporating the Gulf of Genoa, Ligurian Sea, Po Valley, Gulf of Venice and northern Adriatic Sea.

Although several factors are important in cyclogenesis, the development of the cyclone near the Gulf of Venice - as opposed to the west near the Gulf of Genoa - depends on the amount of cold air penetrating the Po Valley from the northeast. If there is little or no cold air entering the Po Valley, the low will probably form in the Gulf of Venice; otherwise, cyclogenesis will occur to the west.


Genoa cyclones usually remain stationary (or at least leave a residual trough) south of the Alps throughout their life history. If the lows do move, they generally follow one of two tracks.

The first track, common for cyclones developing in the Gulf of Venice, is a northeasterly to north-northeasterly direction across the Alps. This track is also known as Vb (5b) track bringing extensive rainfall and catastrophic flooding to Austria, Germany, the Czech republic and Poland, as in Summer 2002. This track is associated with strong southwesterly flow aloft. In this case, Scirocco conditions are likely, if the circulation of the low extends southward into North Africa allowing air from the desert source to move northward.

The second track, associated with a strong anticyclone over the Balkans, Turkey and the Black Sea, is in a southeasterly direction from the Gulf of Genoa towards the Ionian Sea. In this case, a gale force Bora is extremely likely by the time the depression moves into the Ionian Sea.


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