Greece Braces for Thunderstorms on Thursday

Greece thundestorms
An emergency 112 alert was sent to citizens in several parts of northern Greece. Credit: AMNA

The meteorological service warns that many regions of Greece will be impacted by heavy rain, thunderstorms and even hail, on Thursday.

Eastern Macedonia, Thrace, parts of Central Macedonia (Thessaloniki and Halidiki), the islands of the northeast Aegean, Thessaly, the Sporades, Central and Eastern Sterea Ellada, Attica, the Eastern Peloponnese and Evia should be on high alert for extreme weather.

An emergency 112 alert was shortly after 7 p.m. on Wednesday to citizens in Thessaloniki, Larissa and other areas in northern Greece to warn them about the upcoming storm.

Thunderstorms in northern Greece
Thunderstorms in northern Greece early on Thursday. Credit: Blitzortung

The message from 112 states that severe weather conditions (hailstorms, lightning, thunderstorms) are expected “from the early morning hours until noon on 04/07/2024,” calling on the residents to limit their movements during these conditions and follow the instructions of the authorities.

Thunderstorms trigger wildfire in Greece

Heavy lightning has triggered two fires on the Greek island of Thassos on Wednesday, the fire brigade said. It comes a day after firefighting forces tamed wildfires fanned by unusually strong winds on two other islands.

More than 32 firefighters assisted by 13 fire engines, one aircraft and two helicopters were trying to put out the flames devouring forest land on two fronts on the island in the northern Aegean Sea 306 km (190 miles) north of Athens.

Rainfall would normally be a blessing in areas that have not seen a drop in months, but the accompanying lightning made things worse on Thassos.

On Tuesday, social media was filled with images of unusually large hail, which was reportedly up to 4cm in size and caused damage to crops.

Hail Greece
Credit: Twitter/X

“Dangerous” weather conditions in Greece

Climate Crisis and Civil Protection Minister Vasilis Kikilias on Wednesday said that people should prepare for dangerous weather conditions in Greece on Thursday, with severe rains and thunderstorms, in a statement after an emergency meeting of the Greek Risk Assessment Committee.

“The Risk Assessment Committee, in an emergency meeting this morning, informed us of dangerous weather phenomena with severe storms and intense electrical activity tomorrow in many areas of the country,” the minister said.

The forecasts predict that the greatest problems will be observed in Halkidiki and its neighbouring areas, such as Serres, Kavala and the Sporades islands, early on Thursday, while the phenomena will later spread to reach Fthiotida, Fokida, Viotia, Attica, Corinth and Argolida between the afternoon and late into the night.

“Especially for this bad weather system, people should be on the lookout for lightning strikes on land and at sea,” he said.

Kikilias urged the public to visit the Civil Protection service’s site for advice on protection against lightning, while noting that both residents and visitors must be especially careful of squalls at sea, and in areas of heavy rain. He also advised particular attention to ravines and water courses.

“The fact that until yesterday we faced major fires and tomorrow we will have to handle extreme rainfall reflects the extent of the climate crisis we are now experiencing in our country,” Kikilias said.

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