Storm Elpida: Rare 'snownado' sweeps across Greece and Turkey causing chaos in cities

A ‘snownado’ has caused chaos on the streets of major cities in southeast Europe, including Athens. The Greek capital, which has been hit by sub-zero temperatures, has now faced snowfall for the second year in a row.

According to CNN, Athens has only seen six snow events since 2000 and is usually only expected to see half an inch of snow every year.

However, Elpida has already brought just over 3inches of snow to the city.

Athenians faced power cuts and drivers in the capital were left stranded on the motorways.

Reports suggest the military were mobilised to deal with the meteorological crisis.

As temperatures plummeted overnight, soldiers gave drivers food, water and blankets.

But a Government spokesperson also revealed other details about the chaos facing Athens.

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Giannis Oikonomou explained how more than 3,500 people had been evacuated by early Tuesday and how around 1,200 cars were still stuck on the capital’s main ring-road.

However, other areas of Greece also witnessed the winter freeze.

Tripolis saw temperatures dip to nearly -10C on Monday and Florina in northern Greece plummeted to -17C on Tuesday.

In Istanbul, Turkey’s largest city, the airport was forced to cancel flights and the governor even banned private cars from the streets until emergency teams could clear the roads.

Snow also fell for the first time in 29-years at the well-known resort city of Antalya.

Despite some torrid conditions, a meteorologist has claimed the threat of Storm Elpida may be waning.

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“The sheer volume of snow (locally 60-75 cm over higher ground) means that untreated roadways, especially where shaded, can take several days (or more) to be fully passable.

“For most areas, improvement can happen much sooner, especially with helping hands.”

Speaking about the so-called ‘snownado’, Mr Andrews added: “The ‘snownado’ (damaging tornado amid snow on Skiathos Island) was quite remarkable to me.

“Tornadoes and even waterspouts (which are much more common in the Mediterranean region) are powered largely by condensing moisture (through “latent heat” release) in building clouds.

“Whenever it is cold enough to snow at sea level, moisture (and heat energy) is limited by default.

“However, extreme instability in this instance must have been enough to overcome the dearth of moisture/latent heat.

“The sea-surface temperature nearby was about 15C while snow was falling at sea level (i.e., temperature near freezing over that “warm” water) — a potentially turbulent setup!”

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