In what is being described as a once-in-a-lifetime weather event, snow has covered several parts of Greece since Sunday, January 23.
With the storm Elpis hitting the country’s mainland as well as the Cyclades islands — including Syros, Naxos, Tinos, Andros, Mykonos, Santorini and others — the entire region has been left covered in a white veil of snow.
On Monday, the snow also blanketed the Greek capital Athens. This led to travel woes, especially due to the absence of snow infrastructure to cope with such weather. Train and bus operations in the capital were also suspended.
According to reports, the rescue crews struggled to free hundreds of drivers whose cars got stuck in the storm for hours. As the temperatures fell overnight, soldiers handed out food, water and blankets to some of the drivers.
Heavy snowfall also coated the marble columns of the Acropolis, according to the Associated Press.
The snow was expected to continue falling for several hours, and officials warned residents to avoid any unnecessary movement. Government spokesman Giannis Oikonomou told AP conditions would continue to be “difficult” on Tuesday.
More than 46,000 schools were closed across the country.
While the snow falls frequently in the Greek mountains and the northern part of the country, it is less common in central Athens and on the Aegean islands. And despite being a rare phenomenon, the city of Athens has now been hit by snowstorms for a second consecutive year.
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