Snow and storms across Greece as “Rafael” covers country

A cold weather front called “Rafael” descending from northern Europe with freezing temperatures, local storms, cold winds and heavy rains stroke Greece on Tuesday.

The island of Lesvos ushered in the new year with snow falling, while a new weather phenomenon called “Sophia” is expected to hit the country from Thursday bringing more snow, even in flat terrains and coastal areas, while sub-zero air masses will be moving across the country from the north to the south.

For Tuesday, Cyclades, Crete, the Dodecanese are expected to experience heavy rains and storms, while the semi-mountainous and mountainous regions s of Thessaly, Sterea, Euboea and the Peloponnese will see snow.

Many villages on the island of Lesvos have been snowed in, with vehicles only benign able to move with tyre chains fitted.

The city of Trikala in central Greece was also covered in snow, with reporting that snow reached 20 centimetres.

Snow in the region of Fthiotida has reached 70 centimetres, while rescue operations are underway to free 50 people trapped in a hotel in the village of Gardikidue to the heavy snow.

Meanwhile, police have warned of traffic problems due to the weather along mountainous parts of the road network in the regional units of Arcadia, Corinth and Messinia.