Floods, wind damage as rare ‘medicane’ storm hits Greece

A rare hurricane-like storm hit western Greece on Friday, disrupting travel and causing floods and power outages on several Ionian Sea islands.

The storm was expected to head south after hitting the Peleponnese late Friday, hitting the Athens area, in a degraded state, overnight.

“We face intense conditions with winds and very strong rainfall,” deputy minister for civil protection Nikos Hardalias told reporters.

Mediterranean cyclone Ianos, an unusual phenomenon also known as a “medicane”, packed violent winds of up to 117 kilometres (73 miles) per hour according to the Greek civil protection agency.

The coastguard on Friday said a boat believed to be carrying 55 migrants was in distress off the western Peloponnese amid the gale-force winds.

“For the time being we are unable to send a vessel to help,” a coastguard spokeswoman told AFP.

Other boats in the area were approaching the migrant vessels to offer assistance, she added later.

“Trees are falling everywhere,” Ionian Islands governor Rodi Kratsa told state TV ERT.

Minister Hardalias said there were no reports of injuries so far, adding that forecasts see the cyclone shifting southwards later Friday. (AFP)