- Snap blizzard buries much of Greece and Turkey in thick layers of snow, spelling traffic chaos for second day
- Turkey’s Istanbul airport suspended operations until 12pm GMT as heavy machinery cleared the runways
- More than 31ins of snow fell in some areas, as some of ancient Acropolis in Greece was pictured submerged
- Thousands of motorists were left stranded in sub-freezing conditions overnight in both Turkey and Greece
- Rescue crews and soldiers drafted in to provide essential supplies to motorists who refused to leave cars
- Drivers ordered to remove their vehicles in Istanbul, as further flurry of snow expected throughout Tuesday
PUBLISHED: 20:49 AEDT, 25 January 2022 | UPDATED: 07:01 AEDT, 26 January 2022 145View comments
Rescue crews worked throughout the night to save thousands of stranded motorists in Greece and Europe’s busiest airport in Istanbul was forced to close as a snowstorm caused travel chaos for Mediterranean countries.
A rare snap blizzard blanketed huge parts of Greece and Turkey on Monday night as more than 31 inches of snow fell in some areas, paralysing traffic and hamstringing services for a second consecutive day.
The Greek authorities ordered all but essential public and private businesses, schools and offices shut on Tuesday, and have extended the public holiday for Wednesday as well in the wider Athens area and several other regions of Greece as members of the public were advised to limit their movements amid the adverse conditions.
Parts of the city’s ancient Acropolis were submerged in a thick layer of snow, while heavy machinery worked through the night to plough a path for aircraft to safely operate at Istanbul Airport on Tuesday.
Thousands were left to endure below-freezing conditions in their vehicles overnight in both Greece and Turkey as highways and roads were left largely inaccessible after being battered by the snowstorm.
Soldiers were drafted in to deliver food, water and blankets to motorists who were left stranded in their cars on Attiki Odos, the Greek capital’s main ring-road, for up to 24 hours according to local media.
Drivers were ordered to stay off the streets after cars ploughed into one another on Monday and operations were finally resumed at Istanbul Airport after 24 hours of closure as the 16 million residents of Turkey’s largest city entered a second day marred by travel chaos on Tuesday. Turkey:
GREECE: The ancient Acropolis in Athens (including the Parthenon, pictured) was covered in a thick layer of snow after a snap blizzard struck the country on Monday
TURKEY: An aerial view of the Yenikapi sea-front area of Istanbul on Tuesday after approximately 2.8ft of snow fell in the historic city
GREECE: An elderly woman pictured wrapped in a blanket was trapped in her frozen vehicle for more than 24 hours on a motorway near to Athens after all major roads in the city were forced to a standstill after adverse weather conditions
GREECE: Cars are abandoned on Athens’ once-bustling Attiki Odos, the main ring-road into the city, on Tuesday January 25Tourist films from her window in Athens as snowstorm hits Greece
TURKEY: Snow ploughs desperately try to clear snow after a blizzard swept through Istanbul Airport. The terminal remained suspended on Tuesday morning but would resume a small selection of flights by midday
TURKEY: Two men help push a driver whose Ford Fiesta got stuck on an icy patch of road as heavy snowfall struck Istanbul
TURKEY: Frustrated passengers were left to lie on the ground or perch on their seats as they anxiously awaited news of their flights at Istanbul Airport on Tuesday morning