Medicane: Rare hurricane-like storm hits Greece
Katherine Berjikian


Winds, floods and power outages have been caused by a rare hurricane-like storm in Greece, which has also endangered a group of migrants stranded in a boat. 

A Mediterranean cyclone, or medicane, called Ianos caused 117 kilometer-per-hour winds to tear across the the western Ionian islands, sinking a boat in Kefalonia - which has also suffered power outages along with Zakynthos and Ithaca. 

Medicanes are rare storms that first appeared in 1995. They differ from hurricanes and typhoons because they travel west to east, rather than east to west.


A satellite image of the storm near Greece. /Reuters/

A satellite image of the storm near Greece. /Reuters/


Greece's national meteorological service has issued a red alert and weather conditions are expected to continue for another day.

The coastguard told AFP that a boat carrying an estimated 55 migrants has been caught in the middle of the storm, endangering the people onboard.

They added that they were currently unable to send a boat to rescue them during the worst of the storm.

In addition, more than 800 asylum seekers have been relocated from camps near Athens for their safety.


A boat pushed up against a wall by heavy waves in Kefalonia. /Reuters/

A boat pushed up against a wall by heavy waves in Kefalonia. /Reuters/


The local rescue services have also claimed that they received around 60 calls for aid, but many of the calls were for help to cut down trees and pump out water from flooded properties. 

The storm also forced two Ryanair planes to land in Athens instead of Kefalonia.

Medicanes have caused the deaths of several people in the past. In 2018, two people died during a similar storm. And in 2017, a medicane caused a flash flood that killed more than 20 people.

Ianos may move towards mainland Greece and authorities have said the route of the storm and its intensity were not properly predicted before it hit the islands.

Video editing: Paula Harvey.

Source(s): AFP ,Reuters