Migrant boat carrying 50 people goes missing off Greek coast as powerful storms hit area

Credit: AP

Rescuers are searching for a migrant boat caught up in a powerful storm that has hit western Greece after the vessel, believed to be carrying more than 50 people, made a distress call for help.

Hurricane-force winds and heavy rain lashed the area, leading to power outages and flooding on land.

Coast guard officials no trace of the migrant vessel had been found by late afternoon after the boat was reported in trouble off the southwest Peloponnese region.

Coast guard vessels and rescue helicopters were unable to join the operation due to the high winds from the powerful tropical-style storm known as "Ianos".

The country has seen flash flooding brought in by the storm. Credit: AP

The storm battered the western islands of Zakynthos, Kefalonia, Lefkada and Ithaki overnight.

It has brought flash flooding, property damage, power outages, and road closures to the affected areas, while several docked yachts were sunk in harbours.

No injuries have so far been reported.

The storm, with winds exceeding 70 miles per hour (110km per hour) reached the western mainland on Friday.

Credit: AP

Computer models suggested that the storm would not directly affect Athens but heavy rainfall was expected in the Greek capital from late Friday.

Parts of central Greece were also hit, with homes evacuated and several motorists reported stuck in their cars on flooded roads.

Schools and stores have been closed, and ferry services suspended in many areas in western Greece as authorities advised residents to remain indoors.