Local authorities in the Republic of Cyprus are on high alert this weekend as Cyclone Carmel, which was gathering strength over water Saturday morning, is expected to pound the island late at night.
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Weather officials have issued an orange-level warning effective Saturday evening at 9pm through Monday afternoon at 1pm, citing a combination of prolonged rain showers and heavy thunderstorms in local areas with total precipitation likely to range between 85 and 110 millimeters in a 24-hour period.
According to state meteorologist Kleanthis Nicolaides, who heads the weather service, showers lasting 10 or 20 minutes at times would bring “more rain in a single weekend than all of rain combined in one month.”
Despite mixed skies early Saturday, with periods of sunshine punctuated by cloudy skies and showers out west, the meteorologist warned that the cyclone was gathering force and heading for the island in the evening.
'Prepare sand bags which can prevent rainwater intrusion into your property' said a warning in the Fire Department video
“This is not the time to go out for a picnic,” Nicolaides told state radio on Saturday morning, adding that people in the evening and Sunday ought to stay in and avoid going out to have fun throughout the duration of the warning.
Officials are calling on the public to “be prepared to protect yourself and your property” during the cyclone, reminding home owners to secure items in the yard as well as Christmas decorations or store them inside during heavy winds.
The weather notice also warns of flooding of properties and transport networks, with officials calling on the public not to traverse flooded roads by car, motorcycle, bicycle, or on foot.
Nicolaides said the biggest impact was expected along coastal areas while heavy rains and powerful winds would also affect Troodos foothills and mountain slopes facing south.
“But that doesn’t mean other areas won’t be affected across the ilsnad,” the meteorologist added.
Additional warnings include possible power outage as well as disruption to communications and water, while some evacuations may be needed.
Officials also warned that powerful winds could even uproot trees and cause structural damage including rooftops of sheds in open or rural areas.
The Fire Department posted a video on Facebook reminding citizens directly to make sure rainwater grills outside their homes or workplaces remained free of debris as well as clear any obstructions from and shed or garage gutters.
“Prepare sand bags which can prevent rainwater intrusion into your property,” a warning said among others in the video.
The orange warning also include a note about dangerous driving conditions including low visibility, with officials also calling on car drivers to avoid puddles and standing water that can cause vehicles to hydroplane.