Civilians in Greece being rescued during Storm Daniel in September 2023. Photo by the Hellenic Fire Services
02 Oct 2023

Storm Daniel 2023: Largest inter agency operation ever in Greece - over 3,500 rescue operations and 10,000 + emergency calls


Greece experienced one of the most catastrophic floods in history in the region of Thessaly and Magnesia from September 4 to 8, 2023, due to Storm Daniel.


Report by Zisoula Ntasiou 
Cover Photo (Above). Civilians in Greece being rescued during Storm Daniel in September 2023. All photos by the Hellenic Fire Services. 


The forecasts of the meteorological models gave very high levels of rain for the Thessaly area from Sunday 3 of September, while all subsequent updates (available every 12 hours) insisted on the same catastrophic scenario, which no one could have imagined would happen in reality.

The reason for this deterioration of weather conditions was the southwesterly movement of an atmospheric disturbance in the upper atmosphere from the Northern Balkans towards Greece and the Ionian Sea, where it was expected to be cut off from the general atmospheric circulation (cold lake) and slowly moving  to remain in the wider area of the Central Mediterranean.


Over one meter / 3 feet of rain in Zagora Pelion

The rainfall during the period 4 to 8 September, reached 1096.2 mm / 3,6 feet in the Zagora Pelion, 884.5 mm in Portaria Pelion, 762.4 mm in Pezoula Karditsa, 658.8 mm in the city of Karditsa, 642.6 mm in Pertouli, 617.4 mm in the city of Volos, 598.4 in Mouzaki and 550.4 in Kofos of Magnesia.


The most difficult operations in Trikala and Karditsa

Operationally, the biggest disasters were located in the area between the towns of Trikala and Karditsa, along the Litheos Potamos, a tributary of the Pinios, which flooded and broke the dam in the area of Proastio. As a result, the villages of Proastio, Agia Triada, as well as the villages of Palamas, Megala Kalyvia and Kalogriana, were flooded, with water levels very high, reaching the roofs of the houses, which were mainly single-family houses.


Over 10,000 emergency calls and 3,500 rescue operations

Hellenic Fire Service received calls for 10,546 incidents and 3,858 water pumping operations have been carried out. We carried out  3,576 rescue operations of which 807 were by air forces mostly from citizens stuck on roof tops.

This was the largest intervention ever of the Hellenic Fire Service and the Civil Protection in continuous cooperation with the military forces, the Hellenic Police, the Coast Guard, the Emergency Agency and the local municipalities and government. Volunteers and volunteer rescue teams from all over Greece were assisting us in our efforts with personnel and equipment.

Also, the air and ground resources as well as the drones of HFS put in a huge effort while transporting food, water, medicines and dry bedding to af fected people in the entire region of Thessaly.