Authorities on alert for icy conditions

Authorities braced for problems across Attica today as snowfall in the region picked up yesterday afternoon, raising fears that icy conditions will bring parts of Athens to a standstill. Residents of the northern suburb have suffered the most problems as snow-covered roads forced drivers to use chains and resulted in the cancellation of 30 bus routes. Public transport, including the metro and the Proastiako suburban railway, were operating on a 24-hour basis to help keep residents off slippery roads. Authorities said that they have dumped 2,000 tons of salt on Attica’s highways. «There were some incidents that could not be avoided. There were limited problems that created a discomfort to residents,» said Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis. The icy conditions are a threat to a city which does not see snow on a regular basis. According to the KAT hospital, the number of patients that have come in with broken bones is up by 10 percent. Police estimated that more than 300 remote villages have been cut off, with snow reaching as high as 3 meters in some regions. Islands have also been cut off as gale-force winds kept ferries tied to ports and many flights to islands have been canceled. Authorities expect the snow fall to let up today but added that icy conditions will remain until Sunday.

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