Residents of Greece were warned of “dangerous weather phenomena” as storm Bettina was approaching on Saturday from the Adriatic Sea.
An emergency weather warning issued for the weekend by the Greek National Meteorological Service (EMY) was upgraded from “worsening weather” to “dangerous weather phenomena” as wind speed was expected to rise up to 9 and locally to 10 on the Beaufort scale.
In the early morning hours, heavy rainfall with lightnings hit several regions, including Attica. Small tornados were observed in the Zografou area of Athens and Falasarna in Crete. A utility pole was destroyed by the bad weather in Zografou, and greenhouses in Crete.
Shortly after 2p.m. local time, warning alerts were sent out to mobile phones by the 112 Greek Emergency Communications Service in the regions of central Macedonia, eastern Macedonia and Thrace, as well as in Patras and Corinth.
Competent ministers and authorities had held a meeting in Athens on Friday to coordinate flood protection efforts and prepare for snowstorms as the winter is closing in.
Worsening weather brings snowfall in Greece
EMY’s weather bulletin warned that strong winds will affect nearly all of Greece.
Regions in western and northern Greece, eastern and southern islands are expecting torrential rain and thunderstorms as of Saturday night, while the rest of Greece is set to experience milder weather phenomena overnight to Sunday.
Snowfall is also forecast as of Saturday night to midday Sunday on the Greek mainland, in mountainous areas from as low as 500-700 meters above sea level. Some snowfall could also occur at lower elevations.
The regions that will be affected include Thrace, Macedonia, and Epirus.
A significant drop on temperatures will be observed on Saturday night.
Temperatures will drop by 8-10 degrees Celsius in the Ionian region and the mainland, and by 4-6 degrees Celsius in all other areas.
The strong winds should start to slow down by Sunday afternoon.
Greece to receive EU aid for deadly floods
Greece was heavily affected by unprecedented floods in September, which not only took human lives, but also drowned livestock, destroyed crops and infrastructure.
The European Commission on Thursday presented its proposal for a direct support measure worth 43.1 million euros for Greek farmers affected by natural disasters, namely wildfires followed by severe flooding in Greece in August and September.
The national authorities of Greece will directly distribute the aid to farmers to compensate for economic losses, with payments expected to be made by May 31, 2024.
The Commission will have to be notified about the implementation details, including the criteria for aid calculation, the intended impact of the measure, its evaluation, and actions taken to avoid distortion of competition and overcompensation.
This EU support can be complemented up to 200 percent with national funds.