Snow Storm 'Elpis'

About 4,600 motorists spent hours trapped in their cars in freezing temperatures on the Greek capital's Attiki Odos motorway on Monday 24th January 2022 and dozens were still trapped on Tuesday morning (some motorists reported being trapped in their cars for more than 20 hours) with the army, police, fire and ambulance services delivering water, blankets, snacks and other relief in efforts to help them get home safely.  Attiki Odos SA, the company responsible for the privately managed motorway, issued an apology on Monday. saying that it will be conducting a thorough investigation into why its emergency response systems broke down despite repeated warnings of adverse conditions in the week leading up to Mondays snowstorm.   Snow Storm 'Elpis' came with the heaviest snowfall in over 14 years.

The heavy snowfall covered the 'Elftherios Venizelos' International Airport, so many flights were cancelled or delayed until the runways could be cleared.  Passengers on trains between Athens and Thessaloniki were trapped in the snow for hours, with no information supplied.  Parts of Athens were also hit with heavy power cuts, with grid operators working to restore electricity.  Overnight temperatures in Central Greece plummeted to -14°C.  

As efforts continued on Tuesday morning to clear the motorway of snow and ice, as well as abandoned vehicles and jack-knifed trucks, the police said that mororists should not venture into the streets of Athens without snow-chains as conditions remain hazardous.  Later on Tuesday, Attiki Odos announced that it is going to offer for each trapped vehicle 2,000 euros, and Attikes Diadromes SA, the parent company of Attiki Odos SA, accepted the resignation of its Chief Executive Officer, Vassileios Chalkias.  The Attiki Odos motorway was finally cleared of cars by Thursday, with no tolls taken until the end of the weekend.  Drivers that were trapped for hours on the main Attiki Odos motorway will be able to submit their application for compensation from the private operator as of Friday noon 4th February 2022.

The Government declared Tuesday and Wednesday a public holiday, in the public and private sector, after the heavy snowfall immobilized much of Northern and Central Greece, as well as many islands.  The regions most affected were Attica, Evia, Viotia, Crete and the islands of the Cyclades, Dodecanese and Sporades.  Thankfully, Ermionida did not have the heavy snowfall experienced in Attica, apart from some snow and ice over Mount Didyma, enjoying some sunny days with blue skies and temperatures around +6°C.

On 23rd February, the Greek Ministry of Transport imposed a 2 million euro fine on Attiki Odos SA, for the chaos and entrapment of thousands of motorists during the 'Elpis' snowstorm on 24th January 2022.