A rare and powerful cyclone hit Greece’s western Ionian Islands and other parts of the country on Friday, causing heavy rains, high winds and flooding as it tore the coastline.
Such storms – which some meteorologists call Medicanes or Mediterranean hurricanes – were virtually unheard of before the 1990s, but they have become more frequent in recent years due to rising sea temperatures.
Greece has issued its highest level weather alert with the arrival of the hurricane force storm, known locally as Ianos and elsewhere in the region as Cassilda. Local authorities advised islanders and tourists trapped there because of the cyclone to stay indoors as the storm was causing winds of at least 75 miles per hour.
Videos posted to social media from the Greek islands show rough seas pounding normally idyllic beaches and trees bending in the force of the wind as rain hits the landscape.