A massive disaster in Limassol

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In 1969, just a few days before Christmas, an unexpected weather phenomenon hit Limassol, leaving behind major destruction, extensive damages and 2 casualties. The extreme storm, which featured 3 tornadoes that touched down in the city that month, has gone down in history as one of the most serious natural disasters that occurred in Limassol following the island’s independence. 

On that cold December day, 3 big tornadoes appeared to emerge from the sea in the Akrotiri area. From there, they began to furiously beat Limassol, uprooting everything in their path. One of the 3 was the strongest, causing the most damage and spreading horror throughout the city.

Roofs were flung into the air, houses collapsed, and trees were crushed. The tornado lifted and overturned a number of vehicles, including a large truck. However, the greatest loss was that of human life, as 2 Limassolians (one of whom was Giannakis Villanos, father of the Metropolitan of Limassol) died from the tornado, throwing the city into mourning just a few hours before the Christmas celebrations.

The tornado was accompanied by strong winds and lashing rain, while its size alone was enough to strike terror in people. Within 15 minutes, it managed to overpower the heart of Limassol, the Port, Eleftherias and Navarinou Streets, Makarios Avenue, and the Mesa Gitonia and Agios Athanasios areas. The only people who appeared fearless before this phenomenon were some children who, it has been said, ran behind the tornado on their bicycles in an attempt to reach it and discover its end point. The tornado began to weaken as it traveled north, towards the mountains, where it lost its strength and disappeared.

* Information / Photographs: Pattichion Municipal Museum, Historical Archive, Limassol Study Center - Dimitris Theodorou

* NOTE: The tributes of the Project "History of Limassol" present information that has emerged from historical research thus far. Any new data is embedded into the tributes, once it has been confirmed.

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