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Medicane Storm Ianos lashes western Greece

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image copyrightEPA
image captionMedicanes closely resemble tropical cyclones and have become more frequent in recent years

A rare hurricane-like storm is lashing islands in western Greece, bringing torrential rain and power cuts.

Storm Ianos is described as a "medicane" (Mediterranean hurricane), a phenomenon that first appeared in Greece in 1995.

The cyclone is moving eastwards, so at the weekend the winds - now up to 117km/h (73mph) - are set to hit the Peloponnese, then Athens and Crete.

"Trees are falling everywhere," said Ionian Islands governor Rodi Kratsa.

image copyrightReuters
image captionBoats moored in Kefalonia took a battering
image copyrightEPA
image captionMedicane storm damage on Zakynthos

There are reports of flooded streets, power cuts and transport disruption on the islands of Kefalonia, Zakynthos and Ithaca.

Off the western Peloponnese a boat believed to be carrying 55 migrants is in distress and the Greek coastguard has asked nearby ships to assist, AFP news agency reports.

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