Deadly winter storm has wreaked damage in Greece and Turkey

Deadly winter storm has wreaked damage in Greece and Turkey

Deadly winter storm has wreaked damage in Greece and Turkey
Deadly winter storm has wreaked damage in Greece and Turkey

A powerful winter storm shook territories from Greece to Turkey, unleashing an unusual blizzard that killed at least two people and stranded thousands in many major cities as temperatures dropped below freezing.

Snow began falling in parts of Greece on Sunday and swiftly spread to the Aegean islands, which are located to the south and east of mainland Greece. Snow then made its way into Turkey, wreaking havoc in Istanbul and forcing the city’s airport to close on Monday. Late Monday, thundersnow was reported at Athens and Souda, Greece, as well as Istanbul, Turkey.

The Associated Press reported that major motorways and highways that had been closed surrounding Istanbul reopened on Tuesday, citing the country’s Transportation and Infrastructure Minister Adil Karaismailoglu.

According to the Associated Press, citing the state-run Anadolu Agency, at least one death was recorded in Turkey, while another was blamed on the storm in Greece. According to Turkish authorities, a 34-year-old man perished in thick snow while attempting to visit his village in the Amasya province. In Greece, a 60-year-old homeless man was discovered dead in Thessaloniki after allegedly refusing to go to a local shelter.

Istanbul recorded 11 inches (28 cm) of snow in just 24 hours on Monday, bringing the city’s two-day snow total to 13.4 inches (34 cm). The heavy snow forced the closure of Istanbul Airport on Monday and also caused a roof of one of the airport’s cargo terminals to collapse, AFP reported. The airport is considered to be the busiest airport in all of Europe, according to AFP.

Istanbul, home to nearly 15.5 million people, is not a complete stranger to winter weather, but snowfalls of this magnitude are definitely outliers, according to forecasters.

Typically, January and February are the coldest months of the year in the city, with average high temperatures in the middle 40s F (7-8 C) and low temperatures in the middle 30s F. (1-2 C). The city’s most recent snowfall was in February 2021, when slightly over 7 inches (approximately 18 cm) of snow fell over the course of nearly a week.

This week, about double that amount of snow fell in just two days, causing serious problems.

On Tuesday, January 25, 2022, firemen push a stranded automobile on a highway after a snowstorm in Athens.

The snow came down heavier, and very quickly, in other portions of the country where up to 31 inches (80 cm) of snow fell, according to the AP.

Heavy snowfall left motorists trapped on a highway in Düzce, Turkey, as their cars became buried in snow. Motorists were forced to make the choice between spending the night in their vehicles or abandoning them to reach home or any functional public transportation on foot, according to the AP.

On Monday, more than 4,500 people were stranded as a result of the storm, according to the Turkey Disaster and Emergency Authority. Emergency crews delivered thousands of containers of food and drinks to the stranded, according to Reuters.

Snow fell in places that had not seen the winter precipitation in decades. Snowfall has been reported in parts of Turkey’s southwest and along the country’s Mediterranean coast. According to the Associated Press, Antalya, Turkey, located near the Mediterranean coast, received its first snowfall in 29 years.

Turkey isn’t the only Mediterranean country experiencing Mother Nature’s fury this week. Snow also caused major damage in neighboring Greece.

On Sunday, totals surged swiftly across southern and central Greece as snowflakes fell in a frenzy of activity. Snow even blanketed Athens, the Greek capital, which does not experience frequent periods of wintry weather.

Picturesque scenes began to play out on Sunday across the ancient city as the snow started to coat major landmarks. As snow continued to fall on Monday, webcams pointed at some of the area’s most popular attractions, like the Acropolis, and showed near whiteout conditions at times.

Even heavier snow fell just north of the capital city, where the higher terrain typically helps to enhance snow development, according to AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Tyler Roys. When air flows up higher terrain, it is forced to rise and become unstable, allowing for increased precipitation.

Snow created treacherous travel conditions for parts of the country as plenty more powder fell on Monday. Local authorities warned the public to limit outdoor movements to only essential travel through Tuesday, according to the AP.

More than 46,000 school classes across Greece were held online through Tuesday as schools shutter from the storm, the AP reported. In addition, Greece’s Ministry of Health was forced to close COVID-19 vaccination clinics across the Attic Peninsula and the nearby island of Evia through Tuesday.

On Monday, reports surfaced of hundreds of vehicles stranded for several hours on Attiki Odos, a privately owned toll highway that runs across the northern edge of Athens. As of Tuesday morning, rescue crews were still working to free about 200-300 drivers that remained trapped on the roadway overnight, according to the AP.

AccuWeather forecasters predict that many regions in central Athens may receive up to 6 inches (15 cm) of snow by Wednesday, with heavier accumulations on the city’s outskirts.

According to Roys, just six snowfall episodes have occurred in January during the last 22 years at the Athens climatic location. The last large snow occurrence in the Greek capital occurred in February 2021, when the city was covered with 4 inches (10 cm) of snow.

The February 2021 incident poured heavy snow on the Athens area, causing trees and electrical lines to fall, leaving parts of the city without electricity for days.

Forecasters predict that the storm hammering the wider region will diminish by Wednesday.

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  1. Ibrahim, I’m proud of you. I pray you reach where ever you want to 🙏🏽🤲🏽📿 I hope to see you…

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