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Cyprus

Roads closed after night thunderstorms (Update 2: similar scenes in the north)

Photo: Christos Theodorides

A big thunderstorm during the night caused havoc in the Nicosia and Limassol districts.

Thunder, lightning and strong winds that began at about 2.20am woke Nicosia residents who watched as the heavy rain transformed some roads into rivers.

“The hail was hammering down,” a Lakatamia resident said on Tuesday morning. “I thought that the hail would break my windows. There is still hail which has piled up outside.”

The fire service had a busy night answering calls for help from people trapped in cars and people whose houses were flooded. They were also towing vehicles form flooded roads.

It appears that no lives were in immediate danger, fire services spokesman Andreas Kettis said.

“We have received dozens of calls, probably more than 150, but we haven’t counted the exact number yet,” he said. “However, some of them may not need the response of the fire services because the waters will recede.”

“We prioritise and respond to the most urgent cases first.” He is urging the public not to call the services when the situation is manageable and notify them when waters have subsided.

The areas mostly affected were the Nicosia city centre, Phaneromeni, Kaimakli, Aglandjia, Strovolos, Latsia and Dali.

Eleven crews of the fire services responded to calls in Nicosia. Head of the services Marcos Trangolas coordinated the actions of the services from 4am, and the emergency rescue unit joined in to help at 4.30am.

Several trees were uprooted in both the Nicosia and Limassol district resulting in some power cuts.

In Nicosia, Larnaca and Famagusta avenues and Alexandoupolis road in Strovolos were closed to traffic. The exit of the Limassol to Nicosia motorway leading to the former Orphanides supermarket was also closed as water has accumulated on the road.

Traffic lights near the former Orphanides supermarket were out of order causing traffic congestion.

By 10.30am police reported that the roads have reopened but warned the public that in many areas roads are slippery and drivers are urged to drive carefully.

In the Limassol district, the roads from Palodeia to Agros, Ayia Paraskevi to Agros and Laneia to Trimiklini have become dangerous because of landslides.

Trees which were uprooted because of strong winds and fell down were causing problems in Trachoni, Parekklisia and Amathundas.

“In Parekklisia, from a tree which fell down cables were cut and the incident was handled in cooperation with the electricity authority,” the fire spokesman said.

Another tree fell at the Dipotamos bridge of the Nicosia to Limassol motorway. In this case the emergency rescue unit responded.

The fire services are in contact with local authorities, the public works and police, Kettis stressed. They are also receiving updates from the met services on weather conditions.

Almost identical reports of storm damage came from the north on Tuesday, especially in the Nicosia district.

According to the website of Yeni Duzen, and industrial area in Nicosia was badly flooded, as were shops. In front of the Ataturk sports centre on a central avenue, a car was overturned due to  strong winds, while power was cut in many areas.

The site publishes several photos of the damage. It also writes that damage was sustained by houses and shops in Kythrea village where a wall collapsed killing goats and hens that the owner had in his yard.

Turkish Cypriot police announced in the morning that they had closed a major highway towards the main hospital due to flooding, and that traffic was being diverted.  There  has also been a landslide on the Kyrenia-Kythera road stretching for 500 metres and the road was closed for traffic.

Damage also occurred in Rizokarpasso where homes were flooded. Emergency services said thy received 39 calls for assistance.

More rain and hail is expected for Tuesday, especially in the evening, while in the Troodos mountains there could be snowfall at night. Top temperatures are forecast to be 19C in most areas and 9C in the mountains.

On Thursday and Friday, it will be slightly colder, with temperatures lower than normal for early December.

 

 

 


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