Snow, frost usher in New Year

Snow, frost usher in New Year

Many parts of Greece, including the capital’s mountains and northern suburbs, saw snow on New Year’s Eve as a cold snap swept through the country, pushing temperatures near or below the 0 Celsius (32 Fahrenheit) mark.

The cold front was accompanied by strong northeasterly winds ranging from 5-7 on the Beaufort scale, reaching a force of 8 in eastern parts of the country and in the Aegean Sea, and shutting down the small ferry routes between Pachi Megaron and Salamina, Kavala and Thasos in the north, and the Rio-Antirrio crossing in the west.

In the region of Fthiotida, cars and trucks had to be dug out of the snow in the mountains, while several roads were closed to traffic in the mountains of the Peloponnese as well. Motorists were also trapped for several hours on the natiuonal highay between Larissa and Lamia in central Greece.

The Hellenic National Meteorological Service said the cold weather would continue through Thursday and Friday, though winds will start dropping on the afternoon of New Year’s Day, reducing the chill factor.

In Athens, temperatures on Thursday will range from 0-5 Celsius, dropping a couple of degrees lower in the northern suburbs and mountains like Parnitha and Hymettus, and brining more snowfall, which, however, will be light in the city center. Winds will blow at speed reaching 7 Beaufort but will ease off later in the day, and skies are expected to be sunny throughout the day.

Light snowfall and clear skies are also forecast for the northern port city of Thessaloniki, where temperatures will range from -2 to 3 degrees Celsius, with winds at between 3 to 5 Beaufort.

In Macedonia and Thrace, morning clouds will clear later in the day and more snow is expected on the highlands and temperatures drop below the 0 mark to -4 Celsius and even -7 in Western Macedonia.

Cloudy skies and temperatures from 2-10 Celsius are forecast for western parts of the country, including the islands of the Ionian, though in Epirus conditions will be colder by 3-4 degrees.

Thessaly, Evia, the eastern Pelponnese and eastern mountains of mainland Greece will see localized snowfall and strong winds reaching 8 Beaufort but easing off in the afternoon. Temperatures will range from -2 to 6 degrees Celsius, dropping 3-4 degrees lower in the highlands.

Cloudy skies and brief flurries of snow are also expected in the Aegean, where winds will reach speeds of 8 Beaufort and temperatures range from 6-12 Celsius.

Conditions are expected to start improving on Friday, though high-altitude areas should expect morning frosts, particularly in the north and west. Skies will be cloudy in eastern parts of the mainland and the islands of the Aegean, with light snowfall and sleet. Temperatures will remain in the under-10 Celsius range, dropping below 0 Celsius at higher elevations.

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