The Cyprus Meteorological Service issued an ‘orange warning’ for extreme weather conditions, upgrading the ‘yellow alert’ issued on Monday.
Stormy weather hitting the island since Monday early morning has picked up, as a low-pressure system at the southwest of the island is now moving eastbound, with Cyprus in for severe thunderstorms until Wednesday morning, according to observers Kitas Weather .
The weather alert is currently in effect until 8pm on Tuesday, with some areas in for heavy thunderstorms and possible hailstorms with rain accumulation exceeding 55mm per hour.
Officials were not in a position to pinpoint the areas that could be affected the most.
On Monday heavy thunderstorms had been hitting rural parts west of Nicosia with tornadoes popping up, inflicting severe damage on property and cars.
The village of Nikitari was reportedly hit by supercell thunderstorms, which include mesocyclones known for their deep and persistently rotating updraft. The village, that lies west of Nicosia, was also hit by hailstorm, with reports saying that golf ball-sized hail inflicted further damage to properties, blowing away solar panels, water tanks and roof tiles.
Some 15 homes were rendered uninhabitable, according to Interior Minister Nicos Nouris who visited the tornado-struck village on Monday afternoon.
Civil defence crews on alert
Noting that the Interior and Agriculture Ministries, and civil defence crews have been on alert from the moment they received news of the disaster, Nouris said that families affected will be given a €2,000 grant to get them through the holiday season.
The interior minister said that crews have been dispatched to the area to record damages, with the Electricity Authority of Cyprus working on restoring power to the area.
On Tuesday, the weather will be mostly cloudy, with occasional rains and isolated thunderstorms. The rains may be temporarily intense or even prolonged, while hailstones may fall. Snow or sleet is expected on the highest peaks of Troodos.
The temperature will rise to around 17 degrees Celsius inland, around 21C on the west coast, around 19C on the rest of the coast and around 8 degrees in the higher mountains.
The wintery scenery will continue to prevail on Wednesday but will start to clear up on Thursday with temperatures rising above the average 15 degrees for the season.
Meanwhile, the police has been urging motorists to drive carefully, drive slowly, maintain safe distances from other vehicles, and keep their headlights on while driving in the rain or under conditions with low visibility.