by Aggelos Skordas
The sudden storm that struck Thessaloniki, northern Greece, on Thursday midday caused major problems and flash floods in the city’s center and suburbs with the local Fire Service Department receiving more than 450 emergency calls from endangered residents, trapped in stores, ground floor apartments and basements.
Earlier a hail storm pounded the city, while among the flooded buildings was the city’s iconic landmark White Tower, on the sea front, where foreign and local visitors were trapped inside for several hours as water prevented them from exiting. Tourists had to be evacuated from the ground-floor window after firemen sawed through the iron bars. Another monument, the 7thcentury temple of Agia Sofia in central Thessaloniki suffered minor damages from the rainwater and the City Hall’s basement and ground floor was also affected by the floods.
According to local media the downpour turned numerous roads into rivers and at least four people have been rescued by firemen and policemen from a bridge after their vehicles were immobilized due to the increasing water levels. In the western suburb of Sykies a woman was rescued by firemen after a torrent swept her away.
Greece’s second largest city experienced power stoppage due to continuous thunder storms, while problems and delays were caused to the city’s international airport “Macedonia,” where authorities had to cut the fueling supply of the planes. Due to the huge amount of waters on the city’s main street Nikis Avenue, there was a huge traffic jam in the city center.