Athens (AP) - The heavy autumn storm "Ianos" with the characteristics of a hurricane moved slowly along the coast of the Greek peninsula Peloponnese on Friday - and caused considerable damage.

This is shown by the first reports from the Greek civil defense and state television.

State television (ERT) reported that a boat with around 50 migrants on board that was en route to Italy was in danger of capsizing in a storm with gusts of eleven.

The coast guard and passing ships tried to help the people on the wrecked boat.

But this is not possible because of the high waves and the storm.

Coast Guard officers hoped the boat would be propelled towards the mainland.

This would make the rescue operation easier, it said from the coast guard.

"What the tugs have done is insane," said a coast guard officer of the German press agency.

Nobody leaves port with a storm like this.

In the Ionian Sea, which lies between Italy and Greece, migrants are spotted on their way to Italy almost every day.

With crossings from Greece or Turkey organized by gangs of smugglers directly to Italy, migrants try to bypass the largely closed Balkan route and get to Western Europe this way.

The power went out in numerous regions of western Greece and on the Peloponnese peninsula.

Several boats were damaged in the ports of the holiday islands of Zakynthos, Lefkada, Kefalonia and Ithaca.

A campsite on the island of Kefalonia was evacuated, as reported by state television (ERT).

Schools in many regions of western Greece were closed on Friday.

The ferry connections to the islands of Kefalonia, Zakynthos and Ithaca were also interrupted, as it was said.

The civil defense and the meteorological office warned: In the next few hours the «Medicane Ianos» could change course and cause serious damage on the mainland.

Heavy rains were expected in central Greece.

The meteorologists count on an improvement in the weather from Sunday night.

A medicane is a storm depression that can form in the Mediterranean region towards the end of summer when the water there is still high.

As soon as it reaches the mainland it becomes less violent.

© dpa-infocom, dpa: 200918-99-611601 / 6