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Snow Blankets Athens Causing Traffic Havoc

Snow in Athens
A τhick blanket of snow covers Athens. Credit: Greek Reporter

A thick layer of snow covered Athens on Monday night creating havoc in the Greek capital.

Most roads are closed and public transport has been halted on Tuesday.

Civil protection authorities issued a warning, calling on citizens to restrict their movements to the bare essentials.

They also urged employees not to go into work until 10 a.m. or afterward, where this is possible.

Snow in Athens
Most roads in Athens are closed. Credit: Greek Reporter

Athens rarely gets this large of an amount of snow.

Ski enthusiasts grabbed the opportunity to exercise their favorite sport.

Snow in Athens
A skier enjoys his sport in the northern suburb of Vrilissia. Credit: Greek Reporter

The main motorway from Athens to Thessaloniki was cut off for several hours on Monday and Tuesday.

Greece’s civil protection agency warned of “continuing dangerous weather conditions” as strong winds battered the coastline.

Ferry services connecting Athens with Greece’s Aegean islands are also halted.

Snow in Athens
Snow covers Athens. Credit: Greek Reporter

Some villages on the island of Evia, near Athens, were facing power cuts as well as blocked roads.

According to the authorities, snow will continue to fall in Athens until roughly 10 a.m., after which temperatures are expected to inch up and skies to clear.

State system “ready”

As the severe winter weather reached Attica, Citizen Protection Minister Michalis Chrisochoidis promised on Sunday that roads will remain open.

“Our goal is for the roads to stay open,” Chrisochoidis stated at the time.

“I want to send a message to all the residents of Attica, Evia and the surrounding region. We will be tested in the coming hours but the mechanism is extremely efficient,” he declared.

Chrisochoidis said that the entire state system for dealing with such winter emergencies worked flawlessly in northern Greece.

“There is vigilance at Civil Protection from minute to minute to deal with any phenomenon,” he added.

Lowest temperatures reach minus 20 degrees

The cold front, which has blanketed much of northern Greece in snow, originated as cold masses of air that hovered over Central and Northern Europe in the last week.

Heavy snowfall was predicted for central, southern and eastern Greece over the next day, including in the Greek capital and on the southern island of Crete.

According to Athens National Observatory’s weather service, the lowest temperatures recorded were:

-19.9 C at Mesovouno in Kozani,

-17.1 C in Neos Kafkasos at Florina,

-15.9 C in Kilada in the region of Kozani,

-14.4 C at Vounassa, Grevena,

-14.2 C in Terpyllos of Kilkis and

-13.7 C in the city of Florina.

The weather forecast for Attica is cloudy with intermittent snow and temperatures between 0C and 4C. Cloudy and very cold in Thessaloniki, with temperatures from -6C to 0C.

Gale force winds are blowing at sea, with the strongest wind gust of 118km/h (73 miles per hour) recorded in Paximada Karystou, on the island of Evia.

While snow is common in Greece’s north and its mountains during the winter, it is infrequent on the islands and in the center of the capital city itself.

The cold weather comes as a surprise after the country faced a period of warm, spring-like days, part of a weather phenomenon called “Halcyon Days.”

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