Cyprus shivers in sub-zero temperatures

NICOSIA (Reuters) – Known for its summer scorchers, Cyprus shivered in the throes of a cold snap yesterday as snow fell on its mountain peaks and temperatures tumbled below zero. Low gray clouds engulfed the normally clear horizon, causing most people to huddle indoors. Mountain residents reported temperatures falling to -2C (28F) at midday. One resident living near the Mount Olympus ski resort, 1,951 meters at its highest point, told Reuters that 20 cm of snow had fallen by noon «It has been snowing all day. We hope it will continue for a bit of skiing tomorrow,» a resident of the village of Troodos, some 60 km (37 miles) west of Nicosia, told Reuters. Although Cyprus occasionally gets a thin coating of snow on its mountains over the winter months, such weather is always considered a big event in a country which suffers severe droughts and has to desalinate water from the sea. The meteorological service reported that lows of 11C inland and -2C in mountain areas would persist until Sunday. The temperatures are some five to six degrees lower than normal, caused by a low pressure system spreading from Crete in the west. Low temperatures will prevail until Monday at least, particularly in eastern and southern Greece, with strong northerly winds and continued snowfall, which will even reach southern coastal areas, where snow falls in January only once every three to five years. This even applies to the lower altitudes on Crete and the islands of the Dodecanese and Cyclades.

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