By Angelos Anastasiou
WITH heavy rainfall and temperature dropping islandwide, and snow falling in the mountains, deteriorating weather conditions will persist throughout the week, the weather service has announced.
Thunderstorms and heavy snowfall in mountainous areas were predicted for Monday, as well as very strong winds.
Tuesday and Wednesday will be more of the same, according to the weather service, with snowfall expected in semi-mountainous areas.
Near the end of the week, temperatures will continue to fall, with the weather service forecasting a drop of nine degrees by the end of the week.
The meteorological predictions have prompted the fire service to issue a statement warning the public of the increased risk to their safety and their property, as well as advising the reduction of movement to the minimum possible.
Due to heavy rain, the statement urged drivers to exercise extreme caution, drive slowly with their headlights on, and maintain adequate distance from other vehicles.
The fire service also urged the public to make sure that the storm drains outside their homes or establishments are not blocked, that building gutters work properly.
“Avoid working and remaining in subsurface areas, unless necessary,” the statement warned, advising those in underground areas – such as basements – to move to a safer location.
“Do not attempt to cross streams, whether on foot or in your car,” the fire service added.
According to the warning, people in immobilised vehicles, or vehicles at risk of being flooded, should abandon them immediately.
The public was also advised to keep away from electricity wires, as well as areas where rockslides have occurred, and keep others from approaching dangerous spots like bridges or rivers.
“If you reside in a secluded house and the surrounding area is expected to flood, you should vacate the house immediately and resort to a safer location,” the fire service’s warning read.
Spokeswoman Lisa Kemidji told state radio that Monday saw only eight incidents that required Fire Service intervention, mostly relating to pumping water from flooded basements.
Meanwhile, police focused on the risks posed by the deteriorating weather from Sunday afternoon.
“Drivers are advised to be very cautious, drive slowly and keep their headlights on,” said spokesman Andreas Angelides. “If drivers feel they are unable to drive safely due to weather conditions, they should pull over immediately. Maintaining composure and calmness is of paramount importance.”
In light of the weather forecasts and the dramatic failures observed during a deluge last month, the Larnaca municipality announced that it stands on high alert to respond to any problems that should arise.
“Three municipal response teams are standing by to deal with any rain-related incident, like pumping water from flooded basements or streets,” said deputy Larnaca mayor Petros Christodoulou.
By Angelos Anastasiou