In Athens, rare snow blankets Acropolis, halts vaccinations

ATHENS, Greece (AP) — Heavy snowfall blanketed the Acropolis and different historical monuments in Athens and halted COVID-19 vaccinations within the Greek capital Tuesday because the climate introduced many providers throughout the nation to a standstill.

The snow, an uncommon sight within the metropolis of greater than 3 million residents, additionally stopped most public transport providers, whereas toppled timber prompted blackouts in a number of mountainside suburbs.

Snow is frequent in Greece’s mountains and within the north of the nation, however a lot rarer within the capital, significantly heavy snow. Some Athenians emerged cautiously exterior, snapping photographs on balconies and within the streets.

The snow arrived as Athens and several other different elements of Greece stay in lockdown to curb coronavirus infections. Schools and most shops are closed, and residents should keep indoors throughout a nightly curfew.

Some kids skipped on-line courses Tuesday to play within the snow. Adults additionally went out to play, with some digging out skis to make use of on the capital’s hilly slopes. One man skied alongside Pnyx hill in central Athens, close to the Acropolis.

Norwegian Ambassador Frode Overland Andersen tweeted a video of himself snowboarding down a hill within the suburb of Filothei together with his teenage daughter.

“Challenge accepted,” he wrote, after a pal in Oslo challenged him to show it actually was potential to ski in Athens.

“It was the best day at my home office during the lockdown so far,” the ambassador informed The Associated Press. “Sadly, my skis took a rather hard beating, so I will be waxing and prepping for next season.”

Outside the parliament constructing, orange-colored snowplows cleared streets of ice and snow, whereas presidential guards, wearing conventional pleated kilts and pompom-tipped footwear, got heavy woolen overcoats.

Sections of Greece’s major freeway had been closed, most ferry providers to the islands had been canceled, and flights from regional airports to Athens had been disrupted.

Fire Service spokesman Vassilis Vathrakoyiannis mentioned the service had obtained greater than 600 requires help in better Athens.

“The calls mainly concerned downed trees and transporting people stuck in their vehicles to a safe place, but also to transport kidney dialysis patients to receive treatment,” he informed state TV.

“Vaccinations have been postponed, but we have helped transport doctors and medical staff where they are needed, and we helped power technicians get to damaged electricity pylons in areas where access was difficult,” Vathrakoyiannis mentioned.

Power and water cuts had been additionally reported in central Greece. Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis met with emergency response leaders to help residents in blacked-out areas and villages reduce off by the snow.

“We obviously recommend great care be taken in all movement, all unnecessary movement should be avoided,” Mitsotakis mentioned after the meeting, including that authorities had been doing all the pieces they may to maintain the roads open and to revive energy to areas with out electrical energy.

“I think we will all show patience as we deal with a phenomenon that is truly unprecedented,” he added.

The chilly snap, which has already prompted snowstorms round a lot of Europe, stored temperatures hovering round freezing in Athens on Tuesday however was anticipated to carry abruptly with highs of 14 levels Celsius (57 levels Fahrenheit) anticipated on Thursday. ___ Follow Becatoros at and Gatopoulos at ___ Thanassis Stavrakis, Petros Giannakouris and Srdjan Nedeljkovic in Athens contributed.

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