Severe weather is again expected to strike a popular tourist region of Greece after a storm killed seven people there on Wednesday, rattling a destination known for its pristine beaches and natural beauty.
The Halkidiki region is likely to face more rain and winds this weekend, although the upcoming weather is expected to be less harsh than the previous storm, Greek meteorologist Ioanna Nikolaou told state-run television, according to The Guardian.
“Sunday is going to be a difficult day for Greece,” The Guardian said Nikolaou told the television station.
Six tourists died in Wednesday’s storm: two each from Russia, the Czech Republic and Romania, the Associated Press reported. Two of them died when a recreational vehicle overturned, two were killed by the collapsing lean-to roof of a restaurant and two were killed by falling trees, according to the AP.
The death toll rose to seven, the AP reported, when a fisherman who had been missing was also found dead. More than 100 other people were injured.
Winds of up to 62 miles per hour broke trees and power lines, and uprooted cars and beach chairs, according to the AP. Debris lined the coastline of the peninsula, which state-run media said faced extensive power outages.
“There was panic. People were howling and running to hide inside,” Haris Lazaridis, the owner of a tavern where two people were killed, told The Guardian. “For five minutes, it was hellish.”
The Halkidiki region of northern Greece is located near Thessaloniki, the country’s second-largest city, and has a population of about 110,000. Tourism is the third-largest industry there, according to hospitality research company HVS.
Northern Greece’s head of civil protection, Charalambos Steriadis, called the storm that seemed to appear from nowhere an “unprecedented phenomenon,” the BBC reported. It came after several hot days, with temperatures hitting 98 degrees Fahrenheit, according to the BBC.
Authorities in Halkidiki were still assessing the storm’s damage Friday and trying to restore power to areas of the peninsula facing outages, according to Kathimerini, an Athens-based newspaper. The Greek government planned to give 500,000 euros, or roughly $562,700, to three municipalities to repair damaged infrastructure, Kathimerini reported.
Halkidiki’s tourism agency said restoration efforts were almost complete.
The agency, Visit Halkidiki, posted on Twitter: “With all your support & especially, thanks to the endless efforts of our volunteers, public services and local people we are almost there!
#restore #happeningnow #visithalkidiki”