Two men are seen in front of the ancient Acropolis hill during a snowfall, in central Athens, on Monday, Jan. 24, 2022. (AP Photo/Michael Varaklas)
ATHENS — A severe weather front has hit Greece, with below-freezing temperatures and snowfall in many parts of the country, including the capital Athens and many Aegean islands.
Authorities have warned the public to limit their movements outdoors to the essential on Monday and Tuesday, while schools in many areas were shut. Government spokesman Giannis Oikonomou said more than 46,000 school classes across the country were being held online.
The snow was coming down thick and fast in central Athens, settling on the marble columns of the ancient Acropolis. Authorities sent out emergency alerts to cell phones in the wider Athens area on Monday morning warning of severe snowfall over the next few hours and calling on people to avoid any unnecessary movement. Snow chains were mandatory for cars in parts of the northern fringes of the capital, and trucks were banned from circulation.
Several regions in Greece are experiencing problems in electricity supply as a result of the ‘Elpis’ cold weather front and the snowfall sweeping across the country on Monday and forecast to continue Tuesday.
The Hellenic Electricity Distribution Network Operator (HEDNO) said its crews are working to restore power supply services in the following areas:
– East Attica, at Marathonos Avenue in Pallini, and in Anthoussa
– Evia island, in the villages of Mantoudi, Aliveri, Psachna and Oreous
– Central Greece, near Lake Iliki in the Thebes (Thiva) area, and southern Mt. Pilio
Problems are also reported in the northeastern Aegean islands of Chios, Ikaria and Limnos, in the Cyclades islands of Amorgos, Kythnos, Mikonos, Milos, Naxos, Paros, Serifos, Sifnos, and Syros.
On the island of Crete, problems are encountered in Chania (NW) villages, while two electricity crew members have been dispatched to the Lassithi Plain (NE), where snowfall is heavy, to remain overnight for any problems.
The regions of Macedonia-Thrace, the Peloponnese, the Ionian Islands and western Central Greece are not facing any serious issues so far.
The health ministry announced that COVID-19 vaccination centers in the wider Athens region of Attica and on the nearby island of Evia would shut at 3 p.m. Monday and would remain closed on Tuesday because of the heavy snowfall. Appointments that had been arranged for Monday afternoon and for Tuesday would be rescheduled.
Oikonomou said conditions would continue to be “difficult” on Tuesday. Civil protection authorities have set up coordination centers with the participation of the fire department, police, the armed forces and local authorities to tackle any potential problems, he said.
Snow is common in the Greek mountains and in the northern part of the country, but is more infrequent in central Athens and on Aegean islands. Last year, the Greek capital was hit by a major snowstorm that caused severe problems, knocking out power for days in certain neighborhoods and making all streets impassable without snow chains. Thousands of trees buckled and fell from the weight of the snow.
In neighboring Albania to the north, all elementary and high schools closed for three days this week because of cold weather. Authorities advised people to avoid driving as freezing temperatures hit across the country.
Temperatures reached -17 C (about 1 F) in eastern Albania, isolating some areas and causing problems to the electricity and water supply. Many rural roads have been blocked.
Power supply problems reported in parts of Attica
The bad weather has caused power supply problems in parts of Anthousa, Daou Penteli and Marathonas in Attica, the network operator DEDDIE said on Monday. The problems are mainly due to branches or trees falling on electricity cables.
Warning of heavy snow sent to Attica residents by 112 emergency number
A 112 emergency alert was sent to residents in Attica on Monday morning to warn them of very intense snowfall in the region over the coming hours and calling on them to avoid all non-essential travel and follow the instructions of the authorities.
Parliament suspends its operation on Monday
The Hellenic Parliament suspended its operation on Monday, due to the extreme weather conditions in the Attica region. A new decision, for a possible extension of the suspension of the parliamentary work on Tuesday, will be taken in the afternoon, when the administration of the Parliament will hold a meeting.
Police urge Attica residents to avoid travelling
The Hellenic Police on Monday advised Attica residents, and especially those in the northern suburbs, to avoid travelling about unnecessarily due to the heavy snow falling in the region, as well as in other parts of the country experiencing severe weather conditions.
The announcement also reminded motorists that information on the roads that are closed and useful road safety tips in bad weather are provided in a special banner on the Hellenic Police website www.hellenicpolice.gr
TRAINOSE announces cancellation of trains to airport, Halkida
The trains operator TRAINOSE on Monday announced the cancellation of Proastiakos Railway services from the Athens airport to Ano Liosia, as well as trains from Athens to Halkida, due to snow.
ATHENS - A Mixed Jury Criminal Appeals Court on Friday handed down sentences of life and 15 years imprisonment on the two young men found guilty of the murder and gang rape of 21-year-old student Eleni Topaloudi, imposing the same sentence as that imposed by a lower court.
PHILADELPHIA – The Federation of Hellenic Societies of Philadelphia and Greater Delaware Valley announced that the Evzones, the Presidential Guard of Greece will be participating in the Philadelphia Greek Independence Day Parade on March 20.
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