The heaviest snowfall to hit Greece in 12 years triggered power cuts, disrupted transport and trapped people in their homes on Monday (February 15).
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, some 30 kilometres north of the capital, snow buried neighbourhoods and cars and drone views showed forests and hillsides blanketed in a sea of white.
“I haven’t (seen) this in 10, 12 years. It’s a lot of snow,” resident Panagiotis Oikonomou said as he shovelled the entrance of his home.
Power cuts were reported across mainland Greece and on islands off its eastern coast, with gale force winds toppling trees onto power lines, the main power grid operator said.
At least six people had to be rescued from the snow since Sunday, the fire brigade said.
Authorities briefly closed off sections of highways as graders moved in and appealed to the public to avoid non-essential travel.
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.