Greece is bracing for Cyclone Ianos which is expected to hit the southern Ionian islands of Zakynthos, Kefalonia and Ithaca and the Peloponnese from the west on Thursday afternoon, local time.

The storm is expected to move eastwards affecting the mainland as far north as Attica an Evia by Friday. It is then projected move over the Aegean to affect the islands as far south as Crete by Satuday.

The Hellenic National Metereological Service said in a statement that: “Bad weather will prevail in central and southern Greece from the afternoon of Thursday which will start from the southwest, with the main characteristics of heavy rains and thunderstorms and very windy winds.”

Greece’s deputy minister of Civil Protection, Nikos Hardalias said that the “Mediterranean Cyclone (or medicane)” was similar to the tropical cyclones that have affected the Caribbean islands and southern US. He said Cyclone Ianos would generate “very bad weather, but with greater intensity, extent and duration (than a normal storm). Material damage may be caused by strong winds and collisions with objects flying in the wind.”

READ MORE: Zorba the storm hits Southern Greece

The Greek Civil Protection Agency warned that:  “Material damage may be caused by strong winds and collisions with objects flying in the wind. There may be damage to roofs, gutters, windows, but also falls of trees or pillars of PPC.

“Heavy rainfall can cause flash floods in urban areas.Flooding may occur in coastal areas due to rising sea levels due to the high barometric pressure created as the cyclone reaches land.

“There may be temporary interruptions in electricity, telecommunications, water supply and sewerage due to faults in the respective networks.”

A similar storm, dubbed Zorba, caused extensive damage and flooding two years ago.