Very low temperatures, gale-force winds at sea and rain or snow in the rest of Greece is forecast starting the evening of Sunday, Jan. 5, in a weather phenomenon named ‘Hephaestion’ after Alexander the Great’s army general.
Low temperatures and snowfall will affect even areas at low elevations, the National Meteorological Service (EMY) warned.
On Sunday, snow is expected in all mountainous regions, semi-mountainous areas and – from afternoon on – at the North and East Aegean Islands and Evia island. Thessaly will experience dense snowfall in certain areas and snow will also fall on the eastern section of Central Greece, Evia and the eastern Peloponnese.
On Monday (Epiphany Day), eastern Central Greece and Evia will experience heavy snowfall in certain locations, as will the North and East Aegean Islands, and higher elevations on Crete.
Snowfall will continue on Tuesday in the above-mentioned areas, but is expected to abate starting from a northern direction in late afternoon.
In terms of winds, the strongest ones – measuring 7-8 and at times 9 on the Beaufort scale – will affect all seas. On Epiphany Day (Jan. 6), they are expected to reach gale forces of 10 on the Beaufort scale, slightly dropping in velocity starting Tuesday afternoon.
Rain and thunderstorms, some including hale storms, will affect the North and East Aegean Islands and Evia as of midday on Sunday (Jan. 5), while they will gradually also affect the Cycladic Islands, Crete, briefly the Ionian Islands, and from night on, the Dodecanese Islands.
On Monday, Epiphany Day, rain and thunderstorms will be restricted to Crete and the Dodecanese Islands, and are expected to abate by Tuesday afternoon.
State preparing for snow
The state is prepared for the onslaught of wind, rain and snow, the Citizen Protection Ministry said, calling on the public to respect road rules, authorities and other drivers.
‘Hephaestion’ will arrive during a long weekend, and the worst phenomena will coincide with travelers’ return, it said.
The ministry said that trucks over 1.5 tons in weight are banned from the national roads from Sunday 06.00 to Monday 24.00; cars are banned from the emergency lanes, with violators punishable by a 60-day confiscation of a driver’s license and car plates; cars without special tires must carry snow chains, which police will check for; the public is asked to remain updated through the mass media on travel conditions; and the public is also asked to follow the directives of traffic police and the fire brigade, which will be patrolling roads.