High winds play havoc with transport, fell trees

Heavy storms lashed most of Greece yesterday, disrupting air and sea transport, causing electricity cuts and flooding homes and shops. Island-bound ferries were banned from sailing from the port of Piraeus, Greece’s largest, except for large ships heading for the nearby islands of Aegina, Salamina, Poros and Hydra. Some 93 miles southwest of the western Peloponnesian port of Pylos, in international waters, coast guards were monitoring the course of a 45-meter vessel with an estimated 120 illegal immigrants that was apparently headed for Italy. The air and sea operation started after the Merchant Marine Ministry was notified, early yesterday, that a ship full of illegal migrants was facing troubles in high seas south of Crete. However, the ship was found to be proceeding by its own means, and Greek vessels remained in the area in case assistance was required. In Athens, strong winds knocked down a restaurant’s chimney in the central district of Ambelokipi, without causing injuries. However, this caused a short blackout as the chimney knocked down electricity cables. The wind felled dozens of trees, damaging parked cars, while a pedestrian was slightly injured in Pangrati when a piece of a shop sign was blown onto his head. Furthermore, part of an old building near central Syntagma Square was brought down by the storm. Extensive flooding and power cuts were reported in Thessaloniki. Flights to the islands of Syros, Paros and Kythera, as well as several to Crete, were canceled due to the bad weather.