ATHENS — The weather front "Ianos" which had reached the sea region between Sicily and Peloponnese early on Thursday is beginning to intensify and taking on the characteristics of Mediterranean hurricane (Medicane), the meteo service of the Athens National Observatory said.
Atmosperic pressure at the centre of Ianos was approximately 1,000 hPa and expected to drop to 990 hPa by Thursday evening, while the winds, according to several satellites estimates had reached speeds of 65 km per hour or up to 8 on the Beaufort scale.
According to the latest forecast, Ianos will move in the direction of the central Ionian Sea and northwestern Peloponnese, arriving early on Friday, but its subsequent course remains unknown, with the most probable scenario forecasting it will go south.
The areas that are expected to be mostly affected by Ianos are the Ionian islands and the Peloponnese, while the phenomena will be milder in other eastern parts of Greece, including Athens.
Apart from the high precipitation levels, Ianos will bring scattered storms, strong winds that in some case will reach the levels of a tempest (over 10 Beaufort)and very high waves at sea.
Hardalias issues detailed safety instructions ahead of Ianos
Deputy Minister for Civil Protection & Crisis Management Nikos Hardalias on Wednesday warned citizens living in regions likely to be affected by the incoming weather front 'Ianos', to limit their movement to a necessary minimum.
He explained that the phenomenon is known as the 'Mediterranean cyclone', which first appeared in 1995 onwards. He added that it resembles the US tropical cyclones, but although it is weaker, shorter in duration and smaller in scale, it tends to intensify.
Ianos, expected to begin unfolding late Thursday afternoon with a barometric low, as the minister said, will first hit the islands of Zakynthos, Kefalonia and Ithaca, and the region of Ilia in the Peloponnese.
He noted that the effects will be strong and long lasting in these regions, and he also called on the citizens of Messinia, Achaia, Arcadia, the Argolid, Viotia (Boeotia), Etoloakarnania, Fokida, Attica and Evia, who live in areas that have been flooded in the past or are near rivers, streams or shores, to avoid staying in basements, semi-basements and ground floors.
He also urged them to consider not staying at home but ask to stay with relatives or friends, to avoid any unnecessary movement, and to avoid crossing torrents, streams or flooded roads "for any reason, either on foot or by vehicle."
Hardalias also has called a broad meeting on Thursday at 11:00 at the Civil Protection operations centre to coordinate all the bodies involved ahead of the extreme weather phenomenon, the Mediterranean hurricane "Ianos", that is expected to affect a large part of the country in the following days.