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Two dead as rare snow snowfall blankets Greece, vaccinations halted in Greek capital




Two people died in Greece on Tuesday as heavy snowfall not seen in years and gale-force winds lashed the country, disrupting road and sea transport.

The cold snap dubbed “Medea” after the mythical Greek sorceress of the Argonauts brought the most snow to the Greek capital in over a decade, experts said.

A maximum low of minus 19 degrees Celsius was recorded in the nortwestern city of Florina.

On the island of Evia near Athens, an octogenarian suffering from respiratory problems died after an ambulance failed to reach his home in time to repair his breathing apparatus.

On Crete, a livestock farmer in his 60s was found dead in the snow outside his granary at the village of Kaminaki in the east of the island.

The snow stopped most public transport services in Athens, while toppled trees caused blackouts in several mountainside suburbs.

Soldiers help a member of the Presidential Guard, known as Evzonas, during the changing of the guard as snow falls at the tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Athens, Tuesday, Feb.16, 2021. (AP Photo/Thanassis Stavrakis)

Sections of Greece’s main highway were also closed and most ferry services to the islands were canceled, and flights from regional airports to Athens were disrupted.

Fire Service spokesman Vassilis Vathrakoyiannis said the service had received more than 600 calls for assistance in greater Athens.

“The calls mainly concerned downed trees and transporting people stuck in their vehicles to a safe place, but also to transport kidney dialysis patients to receive treatment,” he told state TV.

“Vaccinations have been postponed but we have helped transport doctors and medical staff where they are needed and we helped power technicians get to damaged electricity pylons in areas where access was difficult,” he said.

Snow covers a tree in central Athens with the ancient Parthenon temple on the Acropolis hill seen in the background , early Tuesday, Feb. 16, 2021. (AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris)

Power and water cuts were also reported in central Greece, and Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis was meeting with emergency response leaders to assist residents in blacked-out areas and villages cut off by the snow.

Snow is common in Greece’s mountains and in the north of the country, but much rarer in the capital, particularly heavy snow. On balconies and in the streets, some Athenians emerged cautiously outside, snapping photos.

Outside parliament, in the city center, orange-colored snowplows cleared streets of ice and snow, while presidential guards, dressed in traditional pleated kilts and pompom-tipped shoes, were given heavy woolen overcoats to brave the cold.

The cold snap, which has already caused snowstorms around much of Europe, kept temperatures hovering around freezing in Athens on Tuesday but was expected to lift abruptly with highs of 14 degrees Celsius (57 degrees Fahrenheit) expected on Thursday.

Sourced By: AP News

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