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Athens Hit by Worst Flooding in 50 Years: Scenes From the Streets

A huge overnight storm trapped commuters, knocked out power and killed at least one person.

John Kolesidis/Reuters

The morning commute today in Athens suddenly became a flailing slog through a hail-strewn lap pool as a swollen storm system thrashed Greece like a helpless gimp.

Meteorologists estimated that the amount of rain that fell today was equal to what the country gets on average for the entire month of February. The situation was not helped when a couple rivers in Athens swelled over their banks and poured into the streets, creating rushing estuaries of what looked like sludgy chocolate milkshake. Drivers were stuck for hours in their cars, and one woman was found dead inside her vehicle of an apparent heart attack.

By the time the deluge ended, the Hellenic National Meteorological Service was saying that this flood was the worst Athens has experience in more than 50 years. Here's the low-pressure colossus that caused it all, seen on Friday moving east by the NASA/NOAA Suomi NPP satellite:


At the street-level view things were just as dismal. One woman was pushed up against her car by thigh-high cataracts:

Cars were piled up in the Chalandri suburb of Athens like a giant toddler had become extremely dissatisfied with his Matchbox toys:

Memo to Greek drivers: When this quantity of water is rushing through the street, it is time to pull over. You can see what almost looks like moderately sized sea waves at the beginning of this video, which also covers the sad case of an unlocked scooter floating through the roads of Sicily:

(Photos of Athens by John Kolesidis/Reuters)

About the Author

  • John Metcalfe
    John Metcalfe is CityLab’s Bay Area bureau chief, based in Oakland. His coverage focuses on climate change and the science of cities.