ATHENS – Extremely strong winds were blowing in Penteli and the parts of Attica where fires were raging through the night, meteorologist Kostas Lagouvardos, the research director at the National Observatory of Athens, told the Athens-Macedonian News Agency (ANA) on Wednesday.
“There was a very significant strengthening of the winds in the early morning hours, from about 4:00 in the morning until 7:00. At 4:50, in fact, we had the strongest wind gust on Penteli, which reached 113 km per hour. We are talking about a very strong wind. After that we have a slight easing. As we speak, in other words at 9:30, we have gusts in Penteli that are between 75-85 km per hour. As you can understand, such winds are problematic and make the fighting of fires difficult for both ground and aerial means,” Lagouvardos said.
He predicted that the next few hours until the wind dies down on Wednesday night will continue to be difficult: “The next hours we will remain with a motif of strong winds, it is the second day of strong northerly winds in the east of the country and therefore in Eastern Attica. We will have average wind intensities of 5-6 Beaufort, with gusts that I estimate will be over 70 km per hour and maybe more at certain moments. We expect a slight easing of the winds late at night and more so on Thursday but we have many more hours in which winds will be very strong.”
He pointed out that the strong winds have blown smoke from the Penteli fire up to 400 km away, as shown by satellite images, with smoke reaching south of the island of Kythera and west of Crete.
Regarding the Penteli Observatory, which was evacuated on Tuesday night due to the fire, Lagouvardos said that this was done purely as a precaution and that the observatory had at no time lost power or access to the internet and was therefore receiving data from the 450 weather stations throughout the country as normal.
“We would have been blind if we had such a power outtage but fortunately we didn’t, the forecasts are working normally and have been posted on our web pages,” he said.