Cold snap worsens, transport disrupted

Plunging temperatures and snow storms caused problems across the national road network yesterday, especially at the Vale of Tempe in central Greece, which was virtually impassable by nightfall following a series of minor collisions. Meanwhile, Interior Minister Prokopis Pavlopoulos said that state services had been put on standby as meteorologists predicted a further drop in temperatures, expected to reach -3C (27F) in Athens, -9C (16F) in Thessaloniki and -14C (7F) in Larissa by Thursday. Traffic police in Attica advised motorists to equip their cars with anti-skid chains following snowfall in the mountainous areas of Pendeli and Parnitha. Severe weather conditions led to the cancellation of several flights scheduled to leave Athens for more northerly destinations and to the closure of the airport in Ioannina, due to re-open this morning. The heavy snow also blocked access to some villages in parts of central and northern Greece. PASOK deputy Anna Diamantopoulou called on the government to approve the opposition’s proposal foreseeing a heating-fuel subsidy for low-income citizens. Meanwhile experts warned of an influx into Greece of large numbers of ducks and swans escaping even colder conditions north of the Balkan region. An increase in the bird population has reportedly already been observed in the Evros Delta and other Greek wetlands.

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