Greece buckles down to prepare for cyclone approaching from south Ionian Sea
According to the latest update by the National Observatory of Athens weather service meteo.gr, which released models of the Mediterranean hurricane’s expected course and rainfall intensity over the next 48 hours (see images above), the eye of the Medicane is expected to reach the south shores of the Peloponnese between 15:00 and 18:00 on Saturday.
The series of four photos above show its projected position at 15:00 on Friday (top left), at 21:00 on Friday (top right), at 9:00 on Saturday (bottom left) and at 15:00 on Saturday (bottom right).
The second photo is based on a satellite image showing the weather system’s position at 10:45 on Friday, with cloud formations shown in grey and orange and electrical discharge detected by the Zeus system shown as green dots.
The meteo.gr models have also predicted waves exceeding 11 metres in height between the Peloponnese and Crete.
Schools in the Peloponnese, Attica and other areas of Greece will be shut on Friday as a precaution though ferries in the Saronic Gulf were running normally on Friday morning, with the exception of two scheduled hydrofoil journeys in the early morning. Passengers are advised to contact port authorities or their travel agents before departure to ensure that scheduled journeys will be taking place.
In a presser on Thursday night, along with the director of Greece’s National Meteorological Service Thodoris Kolydas, General Secretary for Civil Protection Yiannis Tafyllis said that state mechanisms were on full alert ahead of the arrival of the cyclone expected in the next few hours.
Kolydas said that reasonably accurate predictions could only be made for the next 48 hours and warned that the public should expect winds of 9-10 Beaufort and strong rain and storms, especially in the southern Peloponnese, Crete and western Cyclades islands. The phenomena will also affect south and eastern Attica on Saturday, he said.
The press conference was given after a meeting of all agencies involved in civil protection to discuss the details of the plan for dealing with the severe weather front, such as the police, fire brigade, emergency services, defence ministry and local authorities, among others.
Kolydas noted that it was hard to predict the precise course, movement and intensity of such phenomena but expected the storm to hit in two phases, with strong rains on southern parts and then move on to Attica on Saturday.
“I would not say that the rainfall will have especially great intensity and, at the same time, during the night there will be a small and brief break in the weather,” he noted but this could pick up again later and move eastward on Saturday evening to night. It would continue from Saturday to Sunday but gradually start to lessen in intensity, he added.
The meteorological service was monitoring the phenomena and will give regular updates, he said.
Tafyllis advised the public to show extra caution and carefully follow the instructions of state emergency services on how to protect themselves from the oncoming storm.
The civil protection agency has issued a list of instructions to the general public on how to protect themselves from the storm, calling on them to:
– Secure any objects that might be blown away and cause damage or injury
– Ensure that building drainpipes are not blocked and in working order
– Avoid crossing streams or torrents, either in vehicles or on foot, during storms, rain and for some time after rainfall has stopped
– To avoid working outdoors and activities at sea or in coastal areas during the storm
– Take cover immediately in the case of hail, either in a building or car, and to not leave safe spaces until they are certain that the storm has passed. Hail also poses a serious danger to animals.
– Avoid passing under big trees, sign posts that might blow away or areas where lighter objects might be pulled free or fall on the ground.
– Closely follow the instructions issued by state agencies and emergency services, such as the police and the fire brigade
For information and announcements concerning the prevailing situation and state of the roads, citizens are advised to consult the police website www.astynomia.gr