Storm spooks northern Greeks

A freak storm that produced over 1,900 lightning bolts alarmed residents in the broader area of Thessaloniki when it struck late on Wednesday night, leaving thousands of homes without power. There were no reports of injuries or any serious damage to homes or farmland but the storm plunged much of Thessaloniki as well as Kilkis, Serres and Halkidiki into darkness after damaging electricity plants. The Public Power Corporation (PPC) repaired the damage to its units swiftly so electricity supplies were restored. But the regional fire service received more than 100 telephone calls from people trapped in elevators. According to Michalis Sioutas, head of the meteorological applications unit of the Hellenic Agricultural Insurance Organization (ELGA), sudden storms are not unusual in northern Greece at this time of year. «The difference with this storm was its duration and the number of lightning bolts,» Sioutas said.