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March Snow Hits Greece, Athens Ring Road Closed to Big Vehicles

ATHENS – Just as Greece was ready to welcome tourists – hoping they would return during the COVID-19 pandemic and the effect of Russia’s invasion on travel – parts of the country were whacked with a March snowstorm.

Some schools and roads were closed as the country was gripped with temperatures at the freezing point, making miserable conditions for many, including thousands of refugees and migrants kept in detention camps.

The storm was named Filippos and brought snow even in regions that weren’t mountainous and operators of the Attiko Odos ring road that goes around the capital Athens quickly barred heavy vehicles, not wanting a repeat of a bigger January snowfall that saw thousands of cars and trucks stuck all night.

A man walks on the snow covered Afidnes village, north of Athens, Greece, Thursday, March 10, 2022. (AP Photo/Thanassis Stavrakis)

In Mount Pilio and the nearby city of Volos, drivers are advised to use snow chains and many schools remained closed and in the major prefecture of Attica, which includes Athens, police also kept trucks off the national road to Lamia.

Vehicles were also banned from travelling beyond the cable car terminal in Mount Parnitha due to the snow, while all trucks over 3.5 tons and all vehicles not using tire chains were forbidden to use the old Elefsina-Thiva national road.

The civil protection service on Thursday afternoon sent out a new message to residents of Attica, Viotia, Fthiotida and Evia, with a strong recommendation to avoid all non-essential travel and use snow chains while Storm Filippos is underway.

“We repeat a strong recommendation for the avoidance of non-essential travel and use of snow chains in Attica, Viotia, Fthiotida and Evia. Dangerous weather phenomena in progress,” the message said.

A man speaking on his cell phone, walks on the snow covered Malakasa village, north of Athens, Greece, Thursday, March 10, 2022. (AP Photo/Thanassis Stavrakis)
A truck crosses a snow covered mountain in Malakasa village, north of Athens, Greece, Thursday, March 10, 2022. (AP Photo/Thanassis Stavrakis)

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