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Nativity scene under snow in northern Greece Nativity scene under snow in northern Greece  (AFP or licensors)

Heavy snow paralyses northern Greece

Air and road traffic in northern and central Greece have been plunged into chaos after two days of heavy snowfalls.

By John Carr

Hundreds of air passengers were stranded at Thessaloniki international airport last night and early today as departures and arrivals were suspended because of thick fog. The 201 people on board an inbound flight from London were diverted to distant Timisoara in Romania, triggering a media storm of indignation here in Athens.

According to Greek media reports, the plane was diverted even though Athens and other southern Greek airports, much closer, were open and functioning normally. It meant that some of the passengers, including disabled people and infants, elected to take an 18-hour ride in an unheated coach to Greece, while others waited for a relief plane to arrive. The Greek transport ministry has pledged an investigation.

Meanwhile, the major highways snaking through the mountains of north and central Greece are negotiable only with difficulty. There was sunshine here in Athens today, but the weather people assure us that a new Arctic blast will sweep down on Greece early next week.

05 January 2019, 13:52