As if 2020 couldn’t get any worse, Greece is bracing for a mega-storm this weekend that meteorologists are saying will bring intense rain and wind to much of the country.
The storm— called a Mediterranean Cyclone or Medicaine— is a rare occurrence in the Eastern Mediterranean and although never as powerful as even a category one hurricane, the storms pose a huge hazard because of life-threatening torrential rains and flash floods.
Greek meteorologists have not yet classified the approaching storm as a Medicaine, but unseasonably heavy rains and high winds are definitely in the forecast.
Greek scientists have named the storm “Ianos” and predict it will hit Greece around September 17 or 18 at its current speed. Estimates suggest the harsh weather will appear first in the southern Ionian islands on Thursday, September 17.
Greece’s Deputy Minister for Public Protection Nikos Hardalias, who for the past six months has been giving almost daily briefings on the Coronavirus pandemic, switched gears to alert the citizenry on the latest threat of the storm.
By Friday heavy winds and rain are expected to hit Peloponnesos and Central Greece, including Attica and the region around Athens and into Evia.
By Saturday the storm is expected to hit the Cyclades islands, extending as far south as Crete, according to models.
A similar storm hit Greece in late September 2018 and caused extensive damage in Athens and elsewhere in the country.
Several flights were canceled at the time and schools were closed. Many islands reported gale-force winds during the storm’s passage.
Weather stations measured wind gusts of 105 km/h (65 mph) which knocked down trees and power lines in Athens.
A fallen tree destroyed the roof of a school in western Athens. Dozens of roads were closed due to flooding. In Ioannina, the storm damaged the minaret on the top of the Aslan Pasha Mosque, which dates to 1614.
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