Winter has arrived in Greece with a vengeance, with low temperatures, gale-force winds and snowfall throughout the country on Tuesday, including flurries in central Athens, with central and western Macedonia and the Peloponnese the hardest hit areas, especially on high ground.

All ships have been banned from sailing from the ports of Piraeus, Lavrion and Rafina in Attica prefecture due to gale-force winds of up to 10 beaufort velocity in the seas, as well as the ferry crossing to nearby Salamis island from Perama. The sailing ban also affects the areas of Prinos-Kavala, Alexandroupolis-Samothraki, Arkitsa-Aedipsos, and Volos-Sporades Islands.

Concessionaire responds to snowfall-caused traffic jam

The “Nea Odos” consortium holding the Athens-Lamia national motorway concession expressed its deep regret for the motorists’ ordeal as a result of the heavy snowfall on Monday night.

In a statement issued on Tuesday, the consortium claimed that a total of six long haul trucks either skidded off the motorway or were immobilised between 8 pm on Monday evening and shortly after midnight on Tuesday. Many motorists used the emergency lane blocking the immediate intervention of the company’s snow removing machinery, the statement underlined.

The government -- which itself came under intense fire for the traffic jam -- along with media and the motorists themselves sharply condemned the consortium on Tuesday, with the relevant minister, Dimitris Reppas, ordering an inquiry and expressing his apology for the problem