Powerful storm in Mediterranean brings heavy rain to Greece

Waves crash on rocks near the port town of Lavrio about 75 kilometers (48miles) south of Athens, on Thursday, Sept. 27, 2018. Greece's civil protection services went on alert Thursday as the country braced for the threat of a cyclone, forest fires prompted evacuations on an island and an earthquake rattled the south of the country.(AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris)

ATHENS, Greece (AP) — A rare and powerful Mediterranean storm brought torrential rain to southern Greece Saturday, reaching the capital Athens late in the night.

Civil protection services remained on alert across most of the country Saturday despite word that the turbulent weather had lost force as it moved east.

In Athens, roads were flooded and traffic was disrupted near the city center, as well as in coastal suburbs south of the city. The fire service said it has fielded over a hundred calls for flooded homes and to remove fallen trees.

Earlier Saturday, winds of up to 90 kph (55 mph) were reported as the storm moved past the southwestern tip of the Peloponnese. It then lashed the northeastern part of the peninsula on its way to Athens.

People were evacuated from the eastern Peloponnese seaside village of Nea Kios, which was partly flooded and without electricity. Elsewhere in the Peloponnese region, rivers overflowed and some damage has been reported.

The fire service reported that calls had come in from towns near the city of Corinth requesting help rescuing people from cars trapped in flooded streets and evacuating residents from homes.

The powerful storm — which was being called Zorba locally — was expected to move on Sunday toward islands in the Aegean Sea and along Turkey’s coast. All ferry service from mainland ports near Athens was cancelled.

On the island of Lesbos, authorities have requested buses to be ready to move refugees from the overcrowded Moria camp, especially those living in tents, as the storm was expected to reach the island Sunday morning. A last-minute effort was being made to find ways to house the refugees moved from the camp.

Police said traffic on the main highway between Athens and the Peloponnese was closed some 54 kilometers (34 miles) west of the capital due to flooding.

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