Power and traffic gradually restored after heavy snowfall

Power and traffic gradually restored after heavy snowfall

The western Greek city of Ioannina, Crete's Chania, the island of Mytilini and areas of Attica were reported with facing the greatest problems in electricity outages after gale-force winds lashed most of Greece on New Year's Eve (Wednesday), as an unusual snowfall overtook several parts of the country, north and south, this week.

Service was interrupted mostly from trees falling on power lines. The power distribution operator (DEDDIE) said the the middle-voltage services had been restored, but electricity in low-voltage settlements was being restored gradually, including dozens of isolated problems in suburbs north of Athens, where it has also snowed.

On the island of Crete and the city of Chania, floods of basements in homes and business resulted from a storm in the early morning hours of Thursday, while drivers were also trapped in their cars. Fallen power lines and flooded substations also created problems, while mountain villages also had to deal with snowfall.

In Attica in general, cars need snow chains to move, especially on sections of the old national highway of Athens-Thebes, and in rural roads around Porto Germeno, Oenoe, Villia and Alepochori – towns that also experienced power failures starting Wednesday evening due to heavy snowfall and the downing of lines from the wind. The Penteli-Nea Makri road north of Athens is also off bounds, while there are also problems on the Mt. Penteli road and the casino area.

Northern Greece faced the brunt of the weather, with freezing temperatures and heavy snowfall, along with the winds. Although it stopped snowing on Thursday (New Year's Day), roads were frozen and several areas called for travelling with snow chains or special tyres – such as all traffic to ski centres in northern Greece - while others were closed to traffic or trucks in particular.

Temperatures remain low in the north, with Thessaloniki registering 0C (zero), Grevena -6C, Florina -10 and Alexandroupoli in the northeast at 2C. The prefecture of Rodopi also had problems with river waters flooding roads, which were shut down to traffic.

The 9 Beaufort-scale winds in the Aegean Sea prevented a lot of schedules from running on Wednesday and New Year's (today), as the port authorities have banned all sailings from the main port of Piraeus and those of Rafina and Lavrio except those within the Saronic Gulf: to and from the island of Egina (in closed-deck boats only), and to and from Perama in Piraeus and the island of Salamina.

Further north, the runs between Volos in central Greece and the Sporades islands (Skopelos, Skiathos, and so on), Rio and Antirrio in the Gulf of Patras were cancelled while in northern Greece the runs from Kavala to the island of Thassos have resumed. Schedules in the Ionian Sea are running as usual from the mainland to the islands.

On Wednesday, a 55-year-old man was seriously injured in Filippiada, western Greece, when the wind carried him of his fourth-floor balcony in an apartment building. He was operated on at the Arta hospital, while in the same region the strong wind overturned a heavy truck that afternoon.

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