Xenophon Storm Could Turn into Mediterranean Hurricane, Meteo Warns

A man tries to secure a boat due to bad weather at the port of Rafina, east of Athens, on Thursday, Sept. 27, 2018. Severe weather warnings remain in effect around Greece, halting ferry services and prompting school closures. (AP Photo/Thanassis Stavrakis)

The National Observatory of Athens’ Meteo service warned of the possibility of a tropical-like cyclone (or Medicane) forming late on Thursday in the Ionian Sea, based on current data.

According to Meteo, it is expected to move eastwards, bringing heavy rains and high winds to a large section of the Peloponnese and Crete early on Saturday, before moving on to Attica, Evia and the Cycladic Islands, reaching the East Aegean Islands, possibly even the Dodecanese Islands, by early Sunday.

Due to the unpredictability of Medicanes, especially as regards the paths they take, Meteo said it will be issuing updated information continuously.

Xenophon, which forced boats to remain docked the last three days, continues to lash the Aegean Sea with gale-force winds and low seasonal temperatures. By Thursday night and Friday morning, the eastern part of mainland Greece (Attica), the Peloponnese, the Cycladic Islands and Crete should expect Xenophon to bring rain and storms, the weather service said.

Schools in Attica to stay shut on Friday

All schools in Attica will stay shut on Friday at the orders of the region’s governor Rena Dourou, ahead of the arrival of a Medicane that is expected to reach Greece on Thursday night. The decision was taken as a precaution and to limit the movement of school children outdoors to a minimum, due to the extreme and dangerous weather conditions expected to prevail.

Orders for all schools to stay shut have also been issued by the Peloponnese regional authority for Corinth, Argolis, Arcadia, Messinia and Lakonia and by the Western Greece Region for Achaia, Ilia and Aitoloakarnania.

Winds topple minaret of historic Ioannina mosque

Meanwhile, furious northerly winds brought by the ‘Xenophon’ storm system have toppled the minaret atop the 17th-century Aslan Pasha Mosque in the northwestern Greek city of Ioannina, city authorities announced on Thursday.

The minaret had been scheduled for repairs due to problems noted in the past couple of years but these had not yet begun and the top of the weakened structure crumbled before the onslaught. The storm has also brought down several trees around the Ioannina region and near-zero temperatures in Metsovo and the surrounding mountains.

The historic mosque was built in 1618 within in the Ioannina Castle and currently houses the Ioannina municipal museum.

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