A cold weather front has hit Greece, sending temperatures plunging from the low 20s Celsius (around 70 Fahrenheit) on Friday to well below freezing on Monday, and seeing snowfall in central Athens.
Authorities appealed to the public to restrict their movements outside to the essential only, while the main highway leading north out of the capital was shut due to snowfall.
Temperatures in part of Kozani in northern Greece fell to as low as minus 20 degrees Celsius (minus 4 Fahrenheit) while gale force north winds battered Greece’s islands, with gusts reaching 118 kilometers per hour (73 miles per hour).
Power cuts were reported in the Sporades islands in the Aegean. Government spokesman Christos Tarantilis said crews were working to restore electricity, after the cuts were apparently caused by trees falling onto power lines.
Heavy snowfall was predicted for central, southern and eastern Greece over the next day, including in the capital and on the southern island of Crete.
While snow is common in Greece’s north and its mountains during the winter, it is infrequent on the islands and in the center of the capital.