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GreekReporter.comGreek NewsRare Snow Blizzard Causes Traffic Chaos in Athens

Rare Snow Blizzard Causes Traffic Chaos in Athens

Athens snow
The northern suburbs of the Greek capital are snowbound on Monday. Credit: Greek Reporter

Heavy snow in Athens on Monday forced authorities to shut down several streets in the northern suburbs of the Greek capital, including parts of the main Athens-Thessaloniki highway.

At the same time, trucks are not allowed on the old Athens-Thebes national road.

Athens Snow
Pentelis Avenue jammed with cars. Credit: Greek Reporter

Snow falling in the center of Athens

Snow is falling even in the center of Athens, creating traffic chaos during the rush hour as commuters try to get to their jobs.

A 112 emergency alert was sent to residents in Attica on Monday morning to warn them of  extremely heavy snowfall in the region over the coming hours, calling on them to avoid all non-essential travel and follow the instructions of the authorities.

The Hellenic Police on Monday advised Attica residents, and especially those in the northern suburbs, to avoid traveling around unnecessarily due to the heavy snow falling in the region, as well as in other parts of the country experiencing severe weather conditions.

The announcement also reminded motorists that information on the roads that are closed and useful road safety tips in wintry weather are provided in a special banner on the Hellenic Police website,

The Hellenic Parliament suspended its operations on Monday, due to the extreme weather conditions in the Attica region. Public-sector staff were sent home at noon on Monday, after the Interior Ministry issued a circular permitting them to leave early due to the bad weather and heavy snow.

The health ministry announced that COVID-19 vaccination centers in the wider Athens region of Attica and on the nearby island of Evia would shut at 3 p.m. Monday and would remain closed on Tuesday because of the heavy snowfall. Appointments that had been arranged for Monday afternoon and for Tuesday would be rescheduled.

The second and most severe storm that is part of the new front, called “Elpis,” is in progress throughout Greece.

According to the National Meteorological Service (EMY), the main characteristics of the second wave of the front will be very low temperatures; heavy snowfall — even in lowland areas of northern and eastern Greece as well as in the Aegean islands — while northerly winds of 8 to 9 Beaufort are expected to blow in the area.

Athens snow
The northern suburb of Vrillisia is nearly unpassable. Credit: Greek Reporter

The Greek islands have been are covered in snow since Sunday in a once-in-a-lifetime weather event. Locals say that the last time this amount of snow fell on the Cyclades was decades ago.

Syros, Naxos, Tinos, Andros, Mykonos, Santorini, and the other islands of the Cyclades are covered in a white veil of snow as the storm “Elpis” hits Greece, including the mainland.

The heavy snowfall has caused many problems in the islands that lack the infrastructure to cope with such weather events.

Heavy snowfall across Greece

Extreme weather conditions will affect Greece on Monday and Tuesday when snow is expected even in the plains of the country, including the Attica region.

Schools of all levels of education will remain closed throughout Attica on Monday and Tuesday, January 24-25.

Attica governor Giorgos Patoulis, after consulting with the political leadership of the Ministry of Civil Protection, the deputy governors, the mayors and all involved bodies, and evaluating the weather conditions, decided to keep schools closed on Monday and Tuesday for precautionary reasons and taking into consideration the safety of students and professors.

Schools will hold lessons via teleconference on these days.

Authorities have advised citizens to avoid any and all unnecessary travel.

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