An area of low pressure that moved into the Mediterranean Sea earlier this week strengthened into a medicane before moving into western Greece Thursday night and Friday.
The National Observatory of Athens designated the medicane Storm Janus, spelled Ianos in Greek. The Hellenic National Meteorological Service also issued an extraordinary weather warning and a gale warning ahead of impacts expected from Storm Janus.
This satellite loop shows a medicane, Storm Janus, spinning near western Greece as the sun rises on Friday, Sept. 18, local time. (RAMMB/CIRA)
This low first moved off the northern coast of Libya on Tuesday and drifted to the north and east across the Mediterranean Sea.
Medicane is an informal name for a nontropical storm that moves over the Mediterranean Sea and gains some tropical characteristics as it strengthens over the warm water. Medicane is a combination of the two words "Mediterranean" and "hurricane."
After pass close to southern Italy into Thursday, Janus turned toward Greece with damaging wind gusts and flooding rainfall arriving by Thursday night.
On Friday afternoon, a call for help was received from a boat off the west coast of Peloponnese carrying about 50 migrants and refugees, according to AMNA News. Rescue ships sent to the area reported winds of 63-87 km/h (39-54 mph).
— Constantine (@Constantine_Sin) September 18, 2020
There have been numerous reported wind gusts of 80-97 km/h (50-60 mph). A gust to 100 km/h (62 mph) was observed in Kefalonia on Friday morning.
By Saturday, at least two deaths have been blamed on the storm and another two people are missing.
AccuWeather Meteorologist Tony Zartman expects wind gusts of 80-97 km/h (50-60 mph) to continue in western Greece, with an AccuWeather Local StormMax™ of 120 km/h (75 mph) through Saturday evening.
— Chris Schmitz (@Schmistian) September 18, 2020
Winds of this speed can cause downed trees and power lines as well as localized structural damage. As a result, power outages are likely across western Greece.
Flash flooding is also likely in areas along the western coast of Greece, where 50-100 mm (2-4 inches) are expected. Otherwise, 25-50 mm (1-2 inches) of rain can fall across much of central and southern Greece.
While Janus will remain near the coast of Greece into the weekend, the worst of the conditions are expected to unfold through the day on Friday. By Saturday, Janus is expected to weaken as it begins to track to the south.
In addition to the strong and damaging wind gusts and flooding rainfall, pounding surf can lead to coastal flooding across western Greece. Images from the Ionian Islands along the west coast of Greece show what appears to be a storm surge inundating buildings and docks.
— meteo.gr - Ο καιρός (@meteogr) September 18, 2020
Storm Janus is forecast to begin dissipating through the weekend as it slowly tracks to the south. Locally heavy thunderstorms and gusty winds and flooding rain can impact northeastern Libya on Sunday, though the impact from Janus are expected to be significantly less by this time.
As the storm passed to the south of Italy on Wednesday, it produced heavy rain across southern Italy and the south coast of Sicily. As much as 35 mm (1.38 inches) of rain was reported in Reggio Calabria. This is more than the city‘s normal September rainfall of 29 mm (1.14 inches).
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