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Greek islands swept by storms

- by Archimedes

Ferries cancelled as storms sweep Greek Islands.

As we recall the delights of our Greek summer holidays it is hard to believe that the Greek Island are anything but endless days of summer sunshine and blue seas.

But winter sets in for Greeks after all the summer tourists have flown home and this year is no different as the Greek Islands batten down the hatches for weeks of winter storms.

Bad weather has already hit many Greek Island beach resorts with strong winds and heavy rains affecting not only life in the islands but also preventing travel as planes are cancelled and ferries stay sheltered in the harbours.

Greek weather has been bad for some weeks now with weather experts forecasting worse to come. Strong winds have caused many problems throughout Greece, with trees uprooted and blocking roads and villages losing their power supplies.

The weather has also affected ferry services between the islands with ships ties up in the ports of Piraeus, Rafina and Lavrio for several says.

Ferry operators have cancelled services as storms sweep across the eastern Mediterranean and many ferries will not operate until conditions improve.

Anyone with plans to travel by sea has been told to contact the travel agencies or the port authorities for the latest updates and the latest information on cancellations and possible replacement services.

Many areas of the capital city of Athens have been without electricity when an abrupt change in the weather brought strong winds and heavy rains.

In Attica, the Fire Service received more than 230 telephone calls an hour on one day as reports flooded in of fallen trees and branches.

The sudden weather change brought snowfalls in the areas of Florina, Kastoria and Grevena, in northern Greece, while the temperature in Thessaloniki dropped to 7C and strong storms were reported from areas as diverse as Crete and the Peloponnese.

On Rhodes at least three people died when torrential downpours resulted in swollen rivers and cars were swept away.

The Greek Meteorological Service warns of more storms to come with heavy rains, thunderstorms, gusty winds and even snow on high ground.

Islands in the Ionian Sea and the Peloponnese suffered rains and high winds with snow falling along the mountainous western mainland.

The General Secretariat for Civil Protection has alerted regions and municipalities to prepare civil protection plans to cope with the impact of severe weather

Greek householders have also been warned to make sure that drains and gutters are clear and to make houses safe from the storms.

Those living in coastal areas and the Greek islands have been warned not to travel in bad weather unless it is necessary and to check out weather forecasts before setting out on journeys.

People have also been warned to avoid crossing streams or driving near swollen rivers and If they are forced to stop their car during a storm they should park well away from trees.