Ηeaviest snowfall in 12 years – Athens-Lamia national highway shut down

The heaviest snowfall to hit Greece in 12 years triggered power cuts, disrupted transport and trapped people in their homes on Monday. A cold front swept across the country from Saturday, driving temperatures down to -20 degrees Celsius (-4 degrees Fahrenheit) in northern Greece and causing rare snowfall in Athens after a period of unseasonably warm weather.

The head of the National Meteorological Service, Theodoros Kolydas, said the snowfall was the “fiercest, in terms of intensity and volume, in 12 years”. In the town of Kapandriti, a few miles north of the capital, snow blanketed roads and vehicles.

“I haven’t (seen) this in 10, 12 years. It’s a lot of snow,” resident Panagiotis Oikonomou said as he cleared the entrance of his home with a shovel. Power cuts were reported across mainland Greece and on islands off its eastern coast that were lashed by gale force winds, the main power grid operator said. At least six people have had to be rescued from the snow since Sunday, the fire brigade said.

The meteorological service issued a severe weather warning on Monday as the cold front is forecast to persist until Wednesday, moving further south including to the Mediterranean island of Crete.