ATHENS (Reuters) - Greece was bracing for a rare type of tropical storm on Thursday, known as a Medicane, which was expected to first hit its western Ionian islands before reaching the southern Peloponnese peninsula and even Athens.
Greek authorities warned that storm “Ianos” would bring gale force winds and heavy rainfall that could lead to floods and power cuts in certain areas over the next two days.
Deputy Citizen Protection Minister Nikos Hardalias on Thursday advised residents of areas hit by floods in the past or close to rivers and torrents to find alternative accommodation. The rest should limit any unnecessary travel.
“Ianos’ impact, we must be clear, will be similar to that of a heavy storm but greater in intensity, extent, and duration,” he told reporters on Wednesday.
Government spokesman Stelios Petsas said the intensity and the course of the cyclone could not be accurately predicted.
These cyclones first appeared in Greece in 1995, but such extreme weather events have become more frequent in recent years, Hardalias said.
A similar storm hit Greece in 2018. In 2017, flash floods killed 25 people and left hundreds homeless. The storms are also known as Medicanes, shorthand for Mediterranean hurricane.
Ianos is expected to hit in two waves. Seven regions in western Greece have already been put on high alert ahead of the storm and authorities will decide later in the day if the wider region of Athens, Attica, as well as Corinth would be included.
Reporting by Lefteris Papadimas and Angeliki Koutantou; Writing by Renee Maltezou. Editing by Jane Merriman
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