Ferries banned from sailing for second day as cold snap persists

Ferries banned from sailing for second day as cold snap persists

The islands of the Aegean were cut off for a second day on Tuesday as ferry boats stayed moored amid a cold snap that has gripped the country since Sunday night, bringing rain, snow and gale-force winds.

Reaching speeds of up to 10 Beaufort at sea, strong winds prevented ferries from sailing from the Greek capital’s ports of Piraeus, Rafina and Lavrio, while also disrupting services in the Saronic Gulf, but are expected to abate by Tuesday afternoon.

Dubbed Hephaestion, the cold snap has brought snow, sleet and heavy showers to the Greek capital and Evia, as well as powerful storms in the Aegean and Crete, which has also seen snow in its western highlands.

According to forecasts on Tuesday morning, more snow is expected on the mountains surrounding Athens, but also in lower-lying parts of its northern and western suburbs, as well as in central and southern Evia and in parts of Thrace in the northeast.

Temperatures remain chilly in the north, with lows of -8 degrees Celsius in Western Macedonia, -5C in other parts of the region, -3C in Epirus in the northwest, -2C in eastern central Greece and 0C on the islands of the Ionian. Daytime highs in these areas are not expected to exceed 7 degrees Celsius.

The temperature in downtown Athens is expected to reach 5 degrees Celsius by midday on Tuesday, while the northern suburbs will be colder by some 2-3 degrees, and winds will come in from a northwesterly direction at speeds of 7 Beaufort, strengthening to 9-10 Beaufort on the highlands and along the eastern coast.

The daytime high in the northern port city of Thessaloniki is forecast at 4 degrees Celsius on Tuesday, with northwesterly winds at speeds of between 4 to 6 Beaufort.

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