Winter Storms Cripple Greece
February 21, 2003
Much of Europe has been affected by very adverse weather during January and February. In Greece, near constant daily rains and heavy snows have produced serious floods and numerous landslides, as shown above. The photo above was taken in the mid-afternoon on February 20, 2003, a few kilometers from the coastal resort of Skala-Oropou, which is about 45 kilometers northeast of Athens, Greece.
A national emergency has been declared for eight of the Cycladic Islands south of Athens, where complete road systems have been washed away and all aspects of infrastructure have vanished. Rainfall during the past 48 hours, in some cases, reached amounts normally observed over the course of a year, especially on the islands of Mykonos, Paros, Serifos and Tinos, which lost their road, water and sewer systems! The near-continuous flow of water from incessant rains has also resulted in earth and rocks sliding onto roadways - the first impression is that an earthquake ravaged the area.
Sections of the National Highway between Athens and Southern Greece have also collapsed leaving many cities, towns and villages now isolated and local officials scrambling to make arrangements for detours. Some estimates indicate that over ten years will be required to clean-up some of the damaged road sections. Other parts of Greece have been hit with extremely heavy snows. The recent weather-related damages are believed to exceed 1 billion euro (1 euro = 1.08 US dollars).