Heavy snow cuts off Greek villages, disrupts air traffic in Turkey, Athens


Athens : Heavy snowfall left about 200 villages cut off across Greece Monday and forced airport authorities to cancel dozens of flights, reported ap.

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Civil defense authorities were on alert, and problems with power and water supply were reported across the country as Greece was gripped by the second day of a winter storm.

Schools and universities were shut throughout the greater Athens area and in many other parts of Greece. About 200 villages, most on the southern island of Crete, were cut off by the heavy snowfall.

Between 10 and 15 centimeters (four to six inches) of snow blanketed the center of Athens, an unusual occurrence in Greece. Near central Athens’ snow-covered Acropolis, only cars using snow chains could use the roads.

Dozens of international and domestic flights to and from Athens’ airport were canceled.

Temperatures had been forecast to plunge to minus 15 degrees Celsius (5 Fahrenheit) in parts of northern Greece on Monday.

Heavy snow fell also fell over much of Turkey on Monday, causing traffic accidents, disrupting air transport and closing schools.

At least three weather-related deaths were reported.

Snow was 1.5 meters (5 feet) high in the province of Van in eastern Turkey, and thousands of village roads were blocked off in the region.

Schools across the country were closed on Monday to ease traffic and minimize the risk of accidents.

An elderly man froze to death in a town near the northern city of Giresun, and two homeless people were reported dead in the northwestern cities of Bursa and Tekirdag, local media said.

In Istanbul, where snow was 22 centimeters (9 inches) deep, municipality workers moved homeless people into cheap hotels or shelters.

The Mediterranean resort of Antalya had its first snow in 15 years, the Dogan news agency reported.