Weather hampers holidaymakers in many parts of Greece

Weather hampers holidaymakers in many parts of Greece

Strong winds and showers, as well as heavy snowfall at higher altitudes hampered the movements of thousands of holidaymakers in many parts of the country ahead of Christmas on Saturday.

In Attica, gale-force winds kept ferryboats tied up at the ports of Lavrio and Rafina, while the Blue Star Delos was prevented from sailing from Piraeus to the islands of the Cyclades. The Aghia Marina-Nea Stira and Kyllini-Zakynthos ferry routes were also cancelled.

Rescue crews, meanwhile, battled gales and rolling seas off the island of Myconos on Saturday morning to rescue 12 crew members from a small freighter that ran aground at the islet of Tragonisi the previous night, carrying a cargo of 2,700 tons of flour from Russia.

Back in the capital, snowfall on the mountains surrounding Athens caused street closures in Penteli and Parnitha, while authorities were on standby for more snow and ice overnight on Saturday and on Sunday.

On the Athens-Lamia highway, hundreds of motorists were trapped for hours on Friday night in heavy snowfall after several trucks jackknifed on the icy roads, but authorities managed to restore traffic flow on Saturday morning. Problems have also been reported on mountains roads in northern and northwestern Greece.

The national weather service (HNMS), meanwhile, warned of ice on the Greek mainland and light snowfall at higher altitudes on the islands and across the country on Sunday morning, adding that temperatures are expected to inch up later in the day.

Civil protection authorities are advising motorists, especially those using mountain roads, to check for weather updates before embarking on their journey, to inform family and friends of their plans and to keep a set of snow chains in their vehicle.

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