A month’s worth of rain fell in just a few hours in Athens on Friday, trapping motorists in their vehicles, flooding buildings and bringing public transport to a halt. The downpour also appeared to have caused the death of a 23-year-old woman in northeastern Athens.
The storm began in the early hours of Friday morning and by lunchtime the amount of rain that had fallen in the capital was the equivalent to what the city typically sees during the whole of February.
By Friday afternoon, the fire service had received more than 1,500 calls from various parts of Athens but mostly from western districts to pump water from flooded homes, basements and parking garages.
In the downtown neighborhood of Aghios Panteleimonas, an abandoned house collapsed, causing damage to parked cars.
Numerous roads around the capital were temporarily transformed into rivers as torrential floodwaters swept through neighborhoods.
The 23-year-old woman became trapped in her car on Amaroussiou-Halandriou Street, which runs between the suburbs of Maroussi and Halandri. People who went to her assistance found her unconscious in the vehicle and she was pronounced dead on arrival at the nearby Seismanogleio Hospital.
Authorities said that it appears she suffered heart failure but an autopsy was to determine the precise cause of death.
Several metro and electric railway stations, including Thiseio and Monastiraki in central Athens, were closed due to flooding. The tram stopped running between 9.30 a.m. and 1.30 p.m.
Despite the unexpected volume of rain, some citizens complained that local authorities are not doing enough to create more storm drains.
Municipalities responded by pointing out that local authorities across Greece have only been given a total of 18 million euros to improve infrastructure to provide protection from natural phenomena such as storms.