After a major snowstorm paralyzed the country for three days, a top Greek scientist warned that Greece could expect more heavy snow in the future due to climate change.
Dr. Christos Zeferos, Professor of Physics and Meteorology at the Academy of Athens, stated to television network MEGA that snowstorms such as “Elpis” will become more and more common due to the changing climate.
“There are people who say that all of this is natural. The fact that the frequency and intensity of these meteorological events are increasing is not random. It is happening within a few decades. Climate change is here, it is with us, and we need to learn how to live with it,” he stated.
“Climate change is here,” scientist warns after heavy snow hits Greece
Heavy snowfall, which was once quite rare in many parts of the country, hit last winter as well. Yet this most recent storm caused chaos around the country, particularly in Athens, where thousands of motorists were stranded on the city’s main ring road for hours due to snow.
Snow is common in the mountainous regions of Greece, but such heavy snowfall is rare in Athens and the Cyclades Islands, which were covered in snow for days.
The disruption the snowfall caused in the country led the government to declare Tuesday and Wednesday as national holidays, shutting down schools and shuttering private businesses and public offices in afflicted areas.
“Such snowstorms used to happen ever 40 to 50 years (in Greece), but they will occur much more frequently, and it would be good for us to begin to adjust to these new circumstances… We are at the point that whenever experts warn us that a major meteorological event will happen, we must quickly apply the appropriate measures,” Zeferos continued.
The professor then mentioned the disaster on the Attiki Odos, where drivers were stuck in their cars for hours, stating that he “doubts that the Attiki Odos has the right machines to face a phenomenon of this magnitude.”
CEO of Attiki Odos resigns, Greek PM apologizes after road disaster
The CEO of the Attiki Odos resigned on Tuesday. Vassileios Chalkias offered his resignation after the fiasco and Attikes Diadromes SA, the parent company of Attiki Odos SA, accepted it.
In a statement on Wednesday, Chalkias said that the last few motorists have been freed from the Attiki Odos toll motorway, where some 1,200 cars were stranded during the snowstorm that hit the country on Monday.
Having served as the company’s CEO since 1999, Chalkias said he feels “honored to have headed the emblematic Attiki Odos project,” and wished all the best to his successor.
The company’s board appointed traffic manager Aristophanes Papadimitriou to assume Halkias’ duties until the due election of a new CEO.
Speaking during an emergency cabinet meeting, he acknowledged the insufficient response of the state to the storm and vowed an investigation into the failure of the company managing the Attiki Odos ring road to maintain normal traffic conditions.