Drivers snowed in in northern Greece

Some 500 motorists were snowed in on the Egnatia Odos highway in Kozani overnight on Thursday and into the early hours of Friday, as emergency rescue teams battled snowstorms and ice that caused an articulated truck to veer out of control and tip over, blocking the busy thoroughfare.

The motorists and the truck driver were extracted from the vehicles by rescue teams by late on Friday morning without any injuries being reported, while a Kozani school was opened on Thursday night to provide shelter for the snow-trapped commuters.

Speaking on Skai television on Friday morning, the chairman of the Egnatia Odos management company, Tasos Mouratidis said that the southbound lanes toward Thessaloniki had been cleared and that crews were still working on the northbound section of the road toward Grevena.

Meanwhile, snow and gale-force winds knocked out the power lines in over 50 villages in northern Greece, with electricity crews still working on repairing them on Friday afternoon.

In Attica, police advised motorists to use snow chains if driving up Mount Parnitha as snowfall has made roads icy from the funicular up, while ferry services from Piraeus, Rafina and Lavrio were unaffected by the weather and continue to run as usual.

The National Hellenic Meteorological Service said that snow and strong winds will subside late on Friday and temperatures, which are expected to hit overnight lows of 1 degree Celsius in Attica and -2 Celsius in northern Greece, will inch up on Saturday.

Christmas Day is expected to start off mildly, with wintry weather returning later in the early evening.

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