Emergency services on alert over winter storms

With bad weather grounding a number of flights yesterday, authorities have placed emergency services on standby in anticipation of the heavy snow and rainfall that is expected to hit many parts of Greece. Olympic Airlines flights from Athens to Alexandroupolis and Kavala in northern Greece were canceled due to poor landing conditions, as were flights to the Aegean islands of Samos and Lesvos. Two planes were also forced to return to Athens after circling above Rhodes airport, unable to land due to heavy rainfall. Emergency services were on standby as of yesterday afternoon. About 60 firefighters with 30 trucks in the Attica region alone were ready to provide their services, while municipal authorities once again got out their snow-clearing equipment. «According to weather forecasts, the bad weather will last until at least tonight. The bad weather could be more intense than the previous spell but may also be of shorter duration,» said Interior Minister Prokopis Pavlopoulos. The government will be hoping that this cold snap is less intense than the one in January that blocked a national highway, cutting the country into two, and brought serious power shortages to the Ionian islands of Cephalonia and Ithaca. The residents of Samothrace were the first to suffer a power blackout yesterday, but authorities described the problems as minor and said that the network was gradually being restored.

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