A major summer storm hit Greece, particularly Attica, where Athens is located, on Friday afternoon, battering the country with heavy rains.
The rainstorm seemed to come out of nowhere on Friday afternoon, as sunny, clear blue skies suddenly turned grey and cloudy in Athens.
Around 2:00 PM, torrential rains hit the region, bringing with them hail and lightning.
The rainstorm, which produced what is usually a month’s worth of rain in Greece in just 40 minutes, caused major traffic jams across Athens, and even left large swaths of the city without power.
Rainstorm in Greece dropped month’s worth of rain in 40 minutes
Rainstorms were recorded across Greece’s mainland, as well as on many islands. In addition to heavy rainfall, much of the country faced strong winds and hail as well.
Shortly after the storms began, the General Secretary of Civil Protection released a series of precautionary measures for the public to remain safe.
Greeks were urged to avoid any outdoor activity, on land or sea, until the storm ceased. In areas where hailstorms occurred, residents were told to take cover in a building or car to avoid injury, and also protect any animals or pets, as hail can be very dangerous for them.
Additionally, the public was urged to stay away from large trees, signposts, or items that had not been secured to the ground.
In the northern Greek city of Kozani, the hailstorm was so severe that machinery used to clear snow in the winter were brought in to remove the hail.
The country is expected to face similar weather conditions throughout the weekend. Much of mainland Greece can expect rainstorms in the afternoon on Saturday and Sunday, with strong winds and temperatures that are standard for the season.
Greece had record high rainfall in 2020
Last year’s weather broke records, not only for high temperatures but also for rainfall levels throughout Greece.
The year will be remembered for more than just the Covid-19 pandemic in the country.
After a series of rainstorms battered Greece throughout 2020, and scorching summer months left Greeks sweltering, the year’s weather phenomena set records that no one really ever wanted to see.
Notably, the country was hit by the “Medicane” called Ianos in September of 2020, the strongest of all such rare Mediterranean cyclones recorded since 1969.
The storm’s unprecedented flooding and destructive winds killed four people in Greece and caused widespread damage across the country, especially in Karditsa and the Ionian islands.
The country’s highest levels of rainfall last year were recorded on the island of Crete, which was the unfortunate center of many of 2020’s numerous torrential rainstorms.
Two areas of Crete, Asi Gonia and Askyfou, both near the city of Chania, were the wettest in the country, where precipitation reached an incredible 2,865 mm (112.8 inches) and 2,650 mm (104.3 inches), respectively.
Two heatwaves, one in mid-May and the other in late July and early August, brought about some record-high temperatures in Greece.
The hottest days ever on record were tied last year. In Plora, near the city of Heraklion, Crete, the temperature reached a steamy 41.8 C (107 Fahrenheit) on May 16. The town of Kranidi, in Argolida, recorded the same scorching temperature on August 1.