Winter Blast Buries Northern Greece in Snow, Ferries Moored

Αssociated Press

FILE- The main road on Troodos mountain blanketed in snow at the eastern Mediterranean island of Cyprus, Friday, Jan. 3, 2020. (AP Photo/Petros Karadjias)

THESSALONIKI - Parts of northern Greece were covered in unusually heavy snow and strong winds reaching up to 11 Beaufort (64-72 miles per hour) in the Aegean kept ferry boats in port, cutting off passengers and supplies from islands on Jan. 6.

The National Observatory’s Meteo weather service recorded wind blasts hitting speeds of 161 kilometers (100 miles) per hour off Karystos on the island of Evia and buffeting other areas such as around the island of Tinos and atop Athens' Mount Penteli in a northern suburb.

The ships could be kept in port with forecasts of continued gale-force winds expected through Jan. 7, further limiting sea travel and as cold is covering parts of the country, with thousands of refugees and migrants in detention centers and camps as well as outdoors intents.

The weather service named the storm Hephaestion after the ancient Macedonian aristocrat and General, said Kathimerini, with snow falling in a number of areas around the country, even blanketing the second-largest city of Thessaloniki as well as around Athens in spots.

Police already closed the rural road linking the Attica mountain town of Penteli to coastal Nea Makri in the east, while vehicles are using snow chains on the old national highway to Thiva around the area of Mandra in the west too.

The Athens-Lamia highway, which was snowed in last month during a previous cold snap, was clear after a highway director was fired for problems in the last snow that tied up traffic for miles and led to his immediate sacking.

Heavy snowfall was also causing problems on roads in western Greece and the northern Peloponnese, especially in the mountains of Arkadia and Korinthia, and on the highlands of the island of Crete, the paper said.