ATHENS – A warning that dangerous weather phenomena are on the way was sent to mobile phones in the Attica region on Μonday from the 112 emergency number.
The message urged them to minimise travel and take protective measures due to snowfall.
Instructions are available at: https://www.civilprotection.gr/el/entona-kairika-fainomena
The cold weather front that has hit Greece with heavy snowfall and was expected to worsen on Monday morning – with the additional danger of icy conditions – has shut down the public sector, schools, and most retail stores, disrupted transportation, and sent all agencies on alert.
Phenomena accompanying ‘Barbara’, as the snowstarm is dubbed, have shut down sections of the national highway from Lamia to Athens, and brought out heavy machinery on roads to remove snow and sprinkle salt in hopes of keeping the main road arteries of Greece operational.
In Thessaloniki, over 150 heavy trucks from abroad have been immobilized because of the weather at the toll staions of Malgara after traffic police banned passage of heavy trucks on national highways. A traffic police spokesman for Nea Malgara station told Athens-Macedonian News Agency (ANA-MPA) that “traffic to Larissa is carrying on normally, but from Larissa onwards nothing is moving, neither truck nor car.” Odos Egnatias management took a portable toilet and water to truck drivers since there is no station in the region that can serve them.
Additional cancellations on Monday include open markets, court cases in several cities including Athens, Piraeus, Thebes, Livadia and Chalkida, while train schedules 62 & 63 on the Athens-Thessaloniki line were also suspended.
Hellenic Electricity Distribution Network Operator said it was on alert for power cuts due to the weather, and had placed over 150 people on call on Evia island, hard hit by snow, and in Attica it had over 800 staff on call with special machinery and power generators among others, in addition to crews to handle trees that may fall on power lines.
Attica Region head of metropolitan infrastructure Panagiotis Kariotis told ANA-MPA there are 117 heavy machines, of which 58 are large snow plows with blades and salt-scatterer and 22 smaller ones, along with cranes and 4×4 cars to help people trapped in cars on roads and for possible transport to hospitals. The region has a reserve of 5,000 tons of salt for immediate use and another backup of 3,000 tons, although salt has been spread on central and northern road networks such as Kifissias, Messoghion and Katechaki, and will repeat it.